Communal genocide in Kandhamal in Odisha, which happened in 2008. Barely after eight days after celebration of Independence day, India witnessed the biggest organized communal attack against the Christians in the last few centuries. This year is is the tenth anniversary of Kandhamal violence. During this brutal invasion on the Christian community, around 393 churches and worship places which belonged to the Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians were destroyed, around 6,500 houses were destroyed, over 100 people were killed, over 40 women were subjected to rape, molestation and humiliation and several educational, social service and health institutions were destroyed and looted. Over 12,000 children lost their education. More than 56,000 people were forced to flee from Kandhamal. Several cases of forced conversion to Hinduism by the Sangh Parivar have been reported. And those who had to flee from Kandhamal, are spread out in different parts of the country today. Many of them cannot come back to their villages since they were told that unless they become Hindus, they would not be allowed to survive in Kandhamal. Those who are displaced and working outside their home district, are not just `migrant labour’. They are victims of communal genocide. Perhaps, they are around your own areas in India.

During these ten years of experiencing violence, the survivors of Kandhamal are still struggling for Peace, Justice and Harmony. On the Tenth anniversary of Kandhamal pogrom, photographer Joe Athialy and activist and film maker K.P. Sasi visited the affected areas once again. The result is a great photo essay. All are welcome to exhibit this photo essay in your area. You can contact the photographer Joe Athialy to organise an exhibition at joe@athyal.org

Photographs by Joe Athialy

Text by K.P. Sasi

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