22 October, 2020

Three Angles Too Acute

A murder triggers riots. Hindutva activism, the Church, Naxalites...it's a potent mix in Orissa.

Three Angles Too Acute
On August 27, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Union minister of state for home affairs, was scheduled to visit riot-hit Kandhamal district in western Orissa. But it was decided at the last minute that he shouldn't attempt to go anywhere near the troubled spot. Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik reportedly told him that his visit may divert the attention of the security personnel engaged in trying to contain the volatile situation. So Jaiswal ended up holding a press conference in the capital city of Bhubaneshwar miles away and told reporters that the situation in Kandhamal and around was "not under control".

Of course it wasn't. A young woman had been burnt alive by a mob barely two evenings earlier. Suspected activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had torched a missionary-run orphanage and school in nearby Bargarh district, about 360 km from Bhubaneshwar, with the 22-year-old trapped inside. It was later revealed that her name was Rajani Majhi and she worked as a caretaker of the one-storey hostel which was home to over 20 children. They had somehow...


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