Journalists ignore anti-Christian pogrom
Many of the Christians who were forced to abandon their houses in the wake of the pogrom were able to return to their villages only when they underwent "conversion to Hinduism".
Conversion means having to drink cow's urine. Some of the Christians succumbed to pressures, while most of them resisted it and are, therefore, unable to return to their ancestral villages. They are the ones who remain in relief camps where even menstruating women have no privacy. But they have not abandoned their faith.
As in every such situation, children and women are the worst sufferers. Not all the victims are Christians. There are victims from the Hindu community too.
Listen to what Jyoti says: "I saw bad people burning down my house in 2007. I also saw them attacking my grandmother and father. We are Hindus and my father is a journalist and works as correspondent of two local newspapers. My father had questioned the people when they attacked the church and destroyed it and written about it. So they burnt our house. My father knows these people. When I grow up, I will become a collector and put all of them in jail".
While my best wishes are with Jyoti, the Collector, who "oversaw" the anti-Christian violence and who allowed the body of the slain Swami to be carried around to incite people, is still in place waiting, perhaps, for Jyoti to complete her studies and clear the Civil Services exam to become an IAS officer!
The findings of the Jury are an indictment of the state and Central governments which have failed in protecting the Constitutional rights the people of India, including those of Kandhamal, enjoy. To that extent, Kandhamal is a blot on India. It can be removed only if the poor people who were driven out of their villages are able to return to their hearths and homes, rebuild their lives and practice their faith without any trace of fear.
[See the Asian Center for Human Rights report on Kandhamal massacre.]