Communal Violence Grips Orissa on Christmas Eve

arson-704218.jpgOn Tuesday, December 25, Orissa was left burning when Christmas celebrations turned into an episode of communal violence. The Christamas celebrations were marred by the riots that shook the city. This holy day was turned into a huge bloodbath due to violence led by communalism. Rioters attacked churches, prayer halls, police posts, houses and vehicles in the tribal dominated Kandhamal area. It all on started on December 24, when two groups, Hindu and Christian, had clashes on the issue of a Christmas gate erected on a Durga Mandap at the market of Brahmanigaon. In this clash, local religious leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati was injured when he was going to Brahmanigaon on hearing about the violence. Swami Laxamananda is a member of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) margadarkshak mandali .The situation worsened soon after the attack on him. He was admitted in Darinigibadi



The consequence of the attack was seen shortly after as a bandh was called for by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists in Orissa for four hours on Tuesday. The violence, which began at Brahmanigaon village under Daringbadi area on Monday, gradually spread to other parts of the district with miscreants attacking two houses of the state‚Äôs Steel and Mines Minister, Padmanabha Behera, at Phiringia and Nuapadar villages, followed by killing of a youth and burning up of eleven churches, missionaries were attacked and people, who came to offer prayers, were stopped outside the church. Although the curfew was imposed in four major towns of Orissa’s Kandhamala district, violence still continued.On the Wednesday morning, fresh violence occurred in the curfew bound Barakahma and Jalpeshta areas where unidentified people set houses on fire and indulged in stone throwing, causing minor injuries to eleven people. Though additional units of security personnel were rushed to the affected areas, their movement was restricted due to felling of trees by miscreants. The state government has positioned more security personnel in the affected areas so that the violence can be controlled.In Orissa, the present government is a coalition of BJP and BJD. Congress has started the blame game, seen often in politics, by saying that, even after the curfew, violence by the saffron activists was allowed due to the BJP being in power. Meanwhile, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has claimed that the situation is under control. However, whatever the truth may be, the Orissa episode is once again a stain on Indian secularism that has failed miserably. Anupriya Prakash