Forty-three heinous cases related to the 2008 violence in Orissa’s
Kandhamal district will be heard here in a three-day session of a
tribunal, comprising retired judges and social activists, starting
NGO National Solidarity Forum (NSF) is holding the National People’s
Tribunal (NPT) to probe the violence unleashed by right wing Hindu
activists against Christians.
The tribunal will start its hearings Aug 22 at the Constitution Club
on Rafi Marg in central Delhi. It will be headed by former Delhi
High Court chief justice A.P. Shah.
The NPT will hear 124 people who witnessed the 43 most heinous cases
of brutalities committed during the violence. The jury would
pronounce its verdict Aug 24 - the concluding day of the tribunal’s
NSF coordinator, Orissa, Dhirendra Panda said Saturday that they
planned to give a report on the verdicts to President Pratibha Patil
and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The NPT jury will include former Delhi High Court chief justice
Rajinder Sachar, former Naval chief admiral Vishnu Bhagwat,
well-known film maker Mahesh Bhatt and feminist writer-publisher
Besides the NPT, the social activists have also planned
demonstrations by students and the trade union organizations of the
On Sunday, eminent lyricist Javed Akhtar will inaugurate an
exhibition of articles and paintings from the violence-hit areas in
Addressing media persons, secretary general of NGO National Dalit
Movement for Justice R. Prasad said most people think that Kandhamal
violence was past but this was not true.
He said that though for the record the relief camps organized by the
state government have been wound up, every village where
violence-hit tribals live were a picture of a relief camp.
Prasad said that Kandhamal carnage was a result of incidents of
violence that were taking place regularly in the state since the
Paul Divakar, general secretary of NGO Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan,
said that the saffron backlash was aimed at suppressing the tribals’
assertion of their economic rights.
He said that it was not violence against the Christians but against
the Dalits seeking their distinct space in society.
Director of NGO Jana Voices Ajay Singh highlighted the magnitude of
Kandhamal brutalities. He said that of the 3,400 complaints that
were lodged, cases were registered only in respect of 800.
Pointing the needle of suspicion towards the prosecution, Ajay Singh
said that though two Fast Track courts were trying the cases related
to violence, the conviction rate was poor.
He said of the 12 cases decided so far, conviction took place only
in one case.