Latest book on Kandhamal released

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Raikia (Story By: Ashok Singh, Matters India): A book entitled “Kandhamal: Massacre of the Innocent,” was released on August 31 by Mani Shankar Aiyar, a former federal minister, at a function held at Raikia, a town in Odisha’s Kandhamal district.

The function marked the seventh anniversary of the Kandhamal violence that killed nearly 100 people and displaced more than 50,000 others in 2008.

Brinda Karat, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist – CPI-M) and Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association and editor of Liberation, the party’s monthly magazine, were also present on the occasion.

“A fascinating factual account of the horrors that overtook the poor, innocent inhabitants, mostly tribals and Scheduled Castes, of Kandhamal in 2007-2008. Essential reading if we are to prevent such atrocities from recurring,” said in a message about the book.

Dibakar Parichha, a member of Odisha Bar Council and practicing lawyer at Odisha High Court, and Santosh Kumar Digal, a journalist, are the authors of the book. The Integrity Media in association with The Publisher, New Delhi has published it.

The 176-page book contains life-sketch of 19 Kandhamal martyrs, out of nearly 100 people, (Government has recognised 38 murder cases only), who were killed during the violence.
How they were tortured and killed, why they were killed and who committed such atrocities were extensively covered by the national and international media. But very little is known about the personal details of those people.

The present book is based solely on narrations collected by a specially constituted team of social activists, academicians and independent experts and court judgements. Readers will find the answer to the above questions in this book.

The details are authenticated and sourced, leaving no room for speculation or doubt. It is the plain, simple truth as enunciated by the Indian legal system.

“This book is neither an indictment nor criticism of any religious group or any religious organisation. It only aims to place on record, with relevant and necessary documentation, how the legal system of Odisha death with some of the persons accused of fomenting riots, killing innocent Christians (and incidentally, some Hindus also), looting Christian properties, desecrating an vandalising Christian (regardless of denomination) in 2007 and 2008 in Kandhamal district. The provocation, based on what has now been revealed as deliberate rumour mongering and the spreading of untruths, was the unfortunate assassination of 84-year-old Hindu religious leader, Swami Ladmanandan Saraswati on 23 August 2008 in his ashram in Jalespota along with four of his associates,” said the preface of the book.

Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubandear and head of the church in Odisha, in foreword, said he found no religious bias in the publication. “Innocent victims suffered torture and death and paid an unimaginable price for being Christians,” the Divine Word prelate added.

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