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Odisha’s Kandhamal protests killings by rightwing groups 

By Purushottam Nayak

Kandhamal: The nationwide protest in various parts of India against rightwing violence found an echo in Odisha’s Kandhamal district, which was severely affected by right wing violence in 2007 and 2008.

Hundreds of people from the eastern Indian district gathered at Phulbani, its headquarters, on October 2 to urge the government to stop the killings and stifling of dissenting voices.

“We can’t tolerate any more killings and attacks on dissent voices,” “Stop atrocities and killings of Dalit and minorities,” “Hands off communal forces” were the slogans raised by the protesters.

The protest called by ‘Forum Against Assassination of Gauri Lankesh” was supported by local groups such as Campaign for Peace , Indian Social Action Forum, Banabasi Surakshya Parishad (council for the protection of forest dwellers) and Adivasi Adhikar Aandolan (struggle for the rights of tribal people)

Lankesh, a journalist-turned-activist, was gunned by unidentified gunmen on September 5 at the entrance of her house in Bengaluru, southern India.

The protesters marched from Madikunda Chhak and went around the town to also condemn earlier killings of M M Kulbargi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Davolkar, who fought to safeguard secular India.

They stressed to need to save democracy, diversities and constitutional values.

The rally ended with a meeting in front of the Gandhi statue and paying homage to the father of the nation, whose 148th birth anniversary fell on that day.

The speakers called for united action to oppose hate campaigns by the divisive forces and uphold democracy, constitutional values, secularism and right to expression.

“We are not the subjects of any kingdoms, we are the citizens of democratic and constitutionally ruled India” they asserted.

The meeting decided to organize similar activities across the district and bring common people on platform for the basic rights of Dalits, tribal and other poor marginal sections.

Nabakishor Digal a Catholic in Phulbani who joined the protest, said Lankesh’s murder cannot stop the voice of justice, truth, and fundamental right. “Many more good souls will be born to fight for peace and justice,” he added.

He bemoaned that the independent, secular and democratic India is being destroyed by extremist and sectarian groups. “India is witnessing hatred and vengeance. The values of Constitution are destroyed. India is going through a dark period. It is our first and foremost duty to uphold the values of the Indian Constitution that promised justice, equality and fraternity to its citizens,” the priest added.

Prasanna Bishoyi, president of the Catholic Union and convener of Campaign for Peace in Kandhamal, reminded the gathering that they have the fundamental rights right to equality, freedom of speech and religion. They also have the right against exploitation.

“It is high time that we jointly raised our voice against atrocity in the name of religion,” he added.

Bipro Charan Nayak, a touring catechist of Balliguda parish in the district, said they had witnessed the worst anti-Christian violence by Hindu Radical nearly a decade ago.

“We have lost life, property, shelter. Nine years have passed not even single perpetrator is in the jail. We are targeted because we are Dalit and minority group,” he alleged.

“We are here protest against killing, murder of Dalit, Christian and Muslim minority, journalists and intellectuals,” the Catholic leader said.

Chakradhar Malick, a Baptist Christian of Daringbadi who joined the protest, said no one can stop “our voice against injustice, atrocities, toward Dalit and minority. We stand together against the killing, murder of journalist.”

“We demand our safety and security being the citizens of India, we have every right to profess our religion according to the constitution of India” said Bhanu Priya Malick, a woman Christian leader who joined the rally. “We shall continue to fight against fundamentalist in every nook and corner of the districts,” she added.

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7 Responses to Odisha’s Kandhamal protests killings by rightwing groups

  1. Upendra Digal

    Killing of intellectuals like Gauri Lankesh is a blog on Indian Democracy and Secularism. This is against the teaching of the father of the nation and Indian constitution. The right-wing groups continue to indulge in such heinous crime. The brutal killing of dalits and adivasis in kandhamal violence is one of them.But nobody can stop the voices of Gauri Lankesh and intellectuals those who speak injustice and corruption.

  2. Mukunddev

    Non-violence was the powerful weapon to bring freedom for our country India by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation. Every citizen of India should imitate this great value.

  3. Nabakishor

    The world is laughing at India our country. The constitution has different promises. It gives assurance of safety and security of every citizen of India but Hindu Radicals go against the constitution. They take the law into their hands. They kill Intellectuals for standing truth. They kill human being in the name of religion, by this they can’t stop voice of intellectual, voice of journalists, voice of liberal people. It is high time to be united against the killing of journalists, against the killing of minorities, against the killing of Dalit and Adibasi. Being the citizen of India we have right to life,right to religion and right to freedom. Let the people of secular India join with this Great Cause.

  4. Peter Digal

    Gaouri Lankesh fought for the justice and stood against injustice, oppression. But she is brutally butchered. Extremist could not tolerate their heinous act. Every human has natural right to live. As Gandhiji fought for injustice as the father of the nation so also we as the citizens of our county India must stand together against the religious fundamentalist.

  5. Asish Kumar Digal

    India is a secular country. The constitution of India assures that there is no any discrimination with regards to caste, creed and colour. We have right to speech, right to life and right to freedom. Extremist killing or murdering any intellectual or journalist or minority group or dalit or adivasi cannot shut our mouth to raise our voice against injustice, oppression, revenge, hate and crime. Let the liberal people encourage for the better and secure life in India.

  6. A. S. Mathew

    The Gujarathi Imperialism operated from New Delhi will be faced with severe challenges in the coming days.

  7. Purushottam Nayak

    Killing of intellectuals, journalists cannot silence the voice of Truth and reality in India. With the slain of one intellectual many liberal intellectuals and journalist will emerge to fight for right,justice and peace.