Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Ugly Face of Sangh Parivar

A fact finding report of nine Human Rights Organisations
that visited Orissa & Karnataka
in Sep.-Oct. 2008

Download it here:

This is a report prepared jointly by a number of Rights Organisations and individuals on the large scale violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka during August-September
2008. The violence was committed by Sangh Parivar organisations, mainly the Bajrang Dal. Their political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) happens to be in power in both the States, and that has ensured that the police watched benignly as the arson and murder took place in public. The ideology and the organization of their mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), pervades the media in both the States to such an extent that with a few honorable exceptions, the Press has reported the violence in a manner that puts the onus on the victims: they were at fault and had it coming.

All the signatories to the report did not participate in every phase of the extended fact finding, but by consensus the report is brought out collectively. In relation to the attacks in Orissa, the
team/teams visited victims who have taken shelter at Visakhapatnam on 18th September, the affected areas of Kandhamal during 20th - 22nd September, the displaced victims
staying in camps at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack during 25th - 26th October and the displaced victims living in the Mandasa area in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh on 30th October. In relation to the more widely dispersed though less severe attacks in Karnataka, teams visited the districts of Dakshina Kannada (including Mangalore, the headquarters), Udupi, Davanagere,
Chikkaballapur and the affected areas of Bengaluru city on various dates in September and October, the last being a large team's visit to Mangalore city during 10th-11th October. The
People's Front of India, Mangalore, accompanied the team during the visit to Mangalore. Debranjan Sarangi, social activist of Orissa, was part of the teams throughout.

Press conferences were held immediately at the conclusion of most of these visits, notably at Berhampur (Brahmapur) in Orissa on 22nd September and Mangalore on 11th October. What follows is the detailed report that was promised on those occasions. Apart from our own observations, we have relied on reports on previous instances of attacks on Muslims/Christians engineered by the Hindutva forces in the two States, on scholarly articles, Government Gazettes, credible newspaper reports, etc. In the matter of understanding and analysis of the social context and background of the respective areas, a note prepared by PUCL, Orissa and articles in Kannada and English written by Prof. Muzaffar Assadi of the faculty of Political Science, Mysore
University have been very helpful, though we alone are responsible for the conclusions drawn.