If the recent violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal District was all about Hindutva Goons hounding Christian Missionaries why did Orissa Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabha Behera, who hails from the violence-hit Kandhamal district, resign from his post ?

In the answer to this question lies the disingenuous template the media has applied in reporting recent events in Orissa.

It is amazing how the lexicon on the controversy changed from what it was before Christmas and what it became after Christmas.

Dig these 3 news stories from October and September.

 Sep 22nd Communal trouble brewing up in Kandhmal dist. – No mention of VHP, Hindutva or violence against christians

Oct 9th Communal tension in Kandhamal – again no mention

Oct 15th Kui tribals up in arms in Kandhamal district  – no mention

In fact the first time the Christian angle emerges is on Dec 23rd when Christian organizations led by 15-member delegation led by Fr Bijay Naik, Bishop Rt Rev BK Naik and Bishop Rt Rev Gabriel Pradhan urge Kandhamal collector and SP to provide adequate security at churches in light of the Bandh call by Kui Samaj Samanya Samiti on Christmas.

Following this were the incidents related to erection of an arch at Baliguda’s Brahmanigaon village which saw Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati with his supporters was proceeding to Brahmanigaon in a vehicle which came under attack at Dasingibadi under Daringibadi police limits.

The media as usual jumped on the VHP Christian conflict template here to color its reportage and the original Kui versus Pana conflict related to ST status faded into the background. This story in the NDTV is a great example where the Kui get a passing reference.

It is strange that All India Catholic Union in its memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed the Kui Janakalyan Samiti for the assaults with no reference to VHP and Bajrang who are ascribed all the blame in the NDTV story. The Christian Organizations have also glossed over the ST status issue making no reference to it and not before long activists like John Dayal All India Christian Council secretary general jumped into the fray demanding CBI enquiry.

Offstumped Bottomline: The incendiary politics of entitlement in Orissa which are not unlike the Gurjar-Meena clashes of Rajasthan have acquired a communal overtone with the media obscuring the core social issues while playing up the Hindutva versus Missionaries template. The Judicial Enquiry ordered by the Naveen Patnaik Government must establish the truth and hold those responsible for the violence accountable to remind us once again of the dangers of the Culture of Entitlement.

 

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