The violence that has swept across Orissa’s Kandhamal district following the killing of a popular Hindu anti-conversion crusader has still not abated. At least a dozen Christians have been killed by Hindu mobs, who believe that Christianmissionaries were behind their leader’s death, and many are still hiding in the jungles on the rugged hills, where they took shelter when their villages were torched. The luckier ones have ended up in already overcrowded relief camps. The district has been a witness to proselytization by Christians and reconversions by Hindu groups. This, coupled with a tussle between Hindus and Christians for the coveted scheduled tribe and scheduled caste tags, has complicated matters. And now, the Maoists are believed to be joining the fray. In this tug-of-war, the worst hit are the poor, illiterate people of oneof the most remote and backward areas of India.
Text by Rajdeep Datta Roy
Photographs by Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
To read our three-part series on the violence in Orissa — “Abandoned flock seeks answers, leaders, safety” on 1 September, “An internal battle wages in the Church” on 3 September, and “Hindus use Christian conversion methods to reconvert villagers” on 4 September — Reporter’s Notebook: “The cries of a boy, the fear of the faithful”, and for a slideshow and audio reportage on the Orissa riots, go to www.livemint.com/orissaviolence