Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Victims forced out before EU group visit in Kandhamal

In order to conceal the hostile situation of Kandhamal to a visiting delegation, the authorities there are forcing many out of the refugee camps, claims victims.
A 10-member European Union group is to tour the riot-hit district from Jan. 27.
Led by deputy chief of mission in the Spanish embassy Ramon Moreno, the EU group is to go on a fact-finding mission during its four-day visit.
Following this announcement, says victims, many are being forced to move out from their camps for the authorities to project a tranquil outlook.
According to one source, about a hundred taking refuge in a local market complex in G. Udaygiri of Kandhamal was asked to vacate the earliest possible.
The complex was their refuge after the government closed many of the state-run relief camps.
"The local government has ordered to vacate people immediately and if we refuse police force will be used," a worried survivor was quoted by Bosnewslife, as saying.
Meena Nayak, a mother of two, asks "where can I go with these two babies?" Her second child was born in the relief camp after violence in August 2008 forced them out of their village.
"We cannot go back to our village, because they will not allow us to live there if we do not convert to Hinduism," she said. "The government is not prepared to provide security and necessary helps. On top of it they are trying to throw us out from here also."
About 50,000 had fled their homes during the violence in the aftermath of Maoists slaying a local Hindu leader. At least 20,000 people still remain homeless without any support from the government.
Says Fr Ajay, who heads an NGO in Kandhamal, "Even after seventeen months there is no justice for survivors of communal violence."
The victims, being poor adivasis and tribals, are reduced to beggars and second class citizens, he says.
He points that it is not a matter of charity that the government is forced to show concern, but it is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India.
The government although has promised compensation, it is not being equally distributed and also is inadequate to rebuild their homes or restore their lives, says victims.
Meanwhile, cold wave conditions returned in Orissa with the minimum temperature dropping in several parts of the state.
Phulbani town in the district of Kandhamal Sunday recorded 9.8 degrees Celsius, the days' lowest, an official of the meteorological centre informed.

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