03 December, 2020

His Hideout Of Myths

Police chasing Dara Singh keep running into a maze of legends woven by sympathetic locals-and Sangh-orchestrated diversionary tactics

His Hideout Of Myths

It is a transformation, albeit meticulously planned, of a ruthless Hindutva zealot into some kind of a living legend. Eight months after he led a mob that burnt Christian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his two sons to death in Manoharpur, stories about Dara Singh's supernatural powers have been doing the rounds in the tribal districts of Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in Orissa, giving him a near-mythical status. Hindutva forces are working overtime, though covertly, to project Dara as a saviour who is fighting alien evil forces. And for eight months the prime accused in the Staines murder has managed to keep the entire state machinery on its toes.

Propaganda justifying his actions is being carried out among credulous villagers by word of mouth ever since Dara chased Sheikh Rehman, a local trader, at Pariabeda weekly haat (market), chopped off his hands and set him ablaze on August 26. People are being told that Dara was only avenging the killing of soldiers belonging to the local Mahanta community by the Pathans (read Pakistani soldiers) in Kargil.

A week later, on...



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