Talk it out

source: NewsToday, October 10, 2008

The problem in Kandhamal district of Orissa is two-dimensional.

One is communal and the other is social.

 


The communal side of the issue is that the
unabated evangelisation perpetrated by the Church & Missionaries in
the name of freedom to propagate their religion is a sheer abuse of the
Constitutional provisions. The social side is the demand of the
converted ‘Pana’ Scheduled Castes for the ‘tribal’ benefits enjoyed by
the ‘Kandh’ Scheduled Tribes.

It is not fair on a Scheduled
Caste community to claim the benefits, which are enshrined only for
Scheduled Tribes, just because they speak the same language.

Also
when the Church & Missionaries commit themselves that they would
provide education, employment and health care and convert the Pana SCs,
they do it in the name of ‘equality’.

Instead of living up to
their commitments, the Church apparently instigates the converted Panas
to demand the ST benefits on par with the Kandhs. So, it not unnatural
for the Kandhs to feel agitated.

The evangelical missionaries,
with the help of hired Maoists, are reprtedly instigating riots, as
they fear the reconversion of Panas to Hinduism, especially after the
sustained social service undertaken by Hindu social organisations and
religious leaders.

This is what lead to the brutal murder of
Swami Lakshmanananda after several attempts before. This heinous murder
of a nonagenarian Swami and his four disciples on the auspicious day of
Krishna Jayanthi landed as a huge assault on the pride &
self-esteem of the Hindu tribes, who had been revering him.

When
a spontaneous retaliation occurred, the Church and Missionaries,
tacitly resorted to internationalise the local issue and gain sympathy
from western countries by playing ‘victims’. As the ‘secular’ media has
also been projecting only one side of the story, the complex catena of
events has been mis-presented.

Anarchy will prevail as long as
the laws are violated and the Constitutional provisions are abused.
Abusing the freedom to propagate religion, converting people en masse
through allurement, coercion and deceit, denigrating Hinduism and
demanding reservation benefits on religious grounds are some of the
violation of laws and once such violations are stopped peace will
automatically return.

The Christian leadership must recognise
the root cause of the problem, identify the foreign-funded rogue
organisations within their community, which indulge in irresponsible
evangelisation and prevail upon them for a peaceful solution.

Having
this in mind, the opposition leader L K Advani has taken the initiative
of starting the dialogue process, when he met Archbishop Vincent
Concessao of Delhi, Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Orissa, Rev Dominic
Emmanuel of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and Swami Chidanand
Saraswati of Paramarth Niketan, Rishikesh, on Wednesday, proposing an
inter-faith dialogue to prevent the recurrence of inter-community
conflict.

The joint statement appealing for peace and dialogue
seems to be encouraging; the Catholic Leaders must show sincerity and
seriousness in addressing the root cause of the issue and reining in
the evangelical businesses. The opposition leader has done what the
Prime Minister has failed to do and he needs to be appreciated for that.

The
central government must grab this initiative shown by the opposition
leader as a good opportunity and continue the peace process by
cooperating with Advani instead of trying to find fault with the Orissa
government. The Advani initiated dialogue process must proceed towards
achieving the objective pf peace and tranquility for people.

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