By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi: The Kandhamal Survival Association on September 7 donated 50,000 rupees to help the flood victims of Kerala.
“This is a goodwill gesture of the survivors,” Ajaya Kumar Singh, who works among the survivors of the worst anti-Christian violence modern India, told Matters India after handing over the money to the Controller of Accounts of Kerala House in New Delhi.
He said a collection for Kerala floods survivors was made during the Kandhamal communal harmony observation in August.
The checks were drawn in favor of Kerala the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). They were given to Kerala House Controller George Mathew. Father Singh was accompanied by Manoj Nayak, both natives of Kandhamal, a district in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
John Dayal, a senior journalist and a human rights activist who joined the duo, said the gesture was a “token of solidarity from victims of the 2008 targeted communal violence in Kandhamal to the victims of a natural calamity in distant Kerala.
Kerala has suffered a damage of 300 billion rupees in the worst floods to hit the state in a century. The floods claimed more than 400 lives.
Kandhamal district in Odisha is mainly inhabited by Tribals and Dalits, many of them Christians. A hate campaign by the right-wing groups against the Kandhamal Christians started in the late 1960s and sustained for several decades culminating in violence in 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
In 2008, Kandhamal witnessed the worst violence against Christians in modern India. It led to the destruction of more than 350 churches, displacement of over 56,000 people, destruction of over 6,500 houses, deaths of over 93 people and abuse of over 40 women.
The victims were tribal and Dalit Christians. The survivors of the violence still struggle for proper compensation, rehabilitation, and justice delivery systems.