Kandhamal: Never Again
It’s been ten years since the sheltered calmness of the plateaus of Kandhamal witnessed one of the bloodiest episodes of communal violence unleashed on Christian minorities in India; since Dalits and Tribals found themselves under siege from mobs led by Hindutva fanatics. Dismembered limbs, axed bodies, rape, arson, razed churches, loot and terror plagued the district for months while the state administration stood on the sidelines. The scars it left behind, the rampant impunity, the acquittals, the colossal displacement it left in its wake, and the omnipresence of fear still haunts the survivors ten years on. It is in this context that some of us, democratic rights activists of several hues, are coming together to mark the tenth year since the violence in Kandhamal and to pledge, never again. We feel that it is imperative that we bring to the fore the horrors of this largely forgotten episode so that the appropriate lessons can be learned.
The now termed Kandhamal Day has seen thousands of residents gather since 2008 to remember those who lost their lives in the violence and to express solidarity with others still suffering in its aftermath. This year we would like to join them, to grow their numbers and share their memories.
We are organising a convention on 25th August 2018 at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi. This convention is being envisaged as a form of interaction and dialogue between various survivors of communal carnage – from Delhi (1984) to Gujarat (2002) to Kandhamal (2008). There would also be photo exhibitions, documentary film screenings and the launching of a people’s archive of the Kandhamal carnage.
We invite you all to join the convention and photo exhibition on “Kandhamal: Never again” at Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India on 25th August.