ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Communal Violence in Orissa

In the battle for the loyalty of the tribals, the adivasis are victims twice over. 

Orissa, one of the poorest states with a sizeable population of scheduled tribes (STs), has witnessed communal conflagrations in the tribal areas since 1996, the most notorious being the burning of Graham Staines and his two sons by Bajrang Dal activists in 1999. However, the violence that began in the Kandhamal district on the eve of Christmas 2007 and left three people dead, 22 churches destroyed and nearly 2,000 homeless people herded into refugee camps is by far the most well-planned attack against Christians.

The simmering tension between Christian missionaries and the various fronts of Hindutva like the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) led to the destruction of churches and burning of Bibles in a few of the ST areas of the country after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition came to power at the centre in 1998. The tension continues in some of the states where the BJP and its allies are in power. Caught in this violence and the battle for their loyalty, the tribals of Orissa, already battling mega industrial and mining projects, are the victims.

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