Bhubaneswar, May 9:
An official direction issued by a senior IAS officer asking all district magistrates in Orissa to rectify the process of recording the caste of "Santhal Christians" has angered the Sangh Parivar. The state Vishwa Hindu Parishad will soon start a campaign demanding the dismissal of all Christian IAS and IPS officers.
IAS officer Livinus Kindo, currently serving as a member of the board of revenue, says the recording of the caste of Santhal tribals had been incorrectly done in many tehsils. "Instead of writing 'Santhal Christian' for Christians, all the Santhals have been termed as Christians instead of mentioning the caste with their religion," Mr Kindo observed.
Subsequently, he had directed all district magistrates to rectify the mistake and submit a compliance report within three months.
The particular portion of the letter that sparked off the controversy read: "I apprehend that the state of affairs might have occurred in some other tehsils of the state of Orissa. If the caste of the Christians is not recorded properly, they may face avoidable problems in obtaining their caste certificates and other benefits."
When the Organiser, the mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, published an article criticising the Orissa government for favouring "converted" Christians, members of the Sangh Parivar planned to get the attention of BJP minister Manmohan Samal, who heads the revenue department.
Mr Sudhanshu Mohan Patnaik, the organising secretary of the state VHP, said, "All IAS and IPS officers belonging to the Christian community have been providing lucrative platforms for tribals to get converted."
He claimed it was an established fact that tribals were Hindus and enjoyed all the benefits provided by the Constitution. "If anybody accepts another religion, why is this particular IAS officer showing so much interest in safeguarding the benefits of the converted Christians? Mr Kindo should act impartially." The VHP organising secretary said a team could meet the revenue minister and place before him its apprehensions.
State BJP spokesperson Nayan Kishore Mohanty toned down the rhetoric of the VHP and expressed concern over the contents of the letter. Mr Mohanty said, "The party doesn’t believe in giving benefits to converted Christians. We will take up the matter with the revenue minister."
Courtesy: Asian Age