Dozens have been murdered, many hurt, property destroyed and looted following the 23 August murder of the leader of the militant Hindu organisation, VHP in the Indian state of Orissa. However, what is largely described as Hindu-Christian inter-communal violence is covering over underlying caste dynamics.
The rampage that radical VHP followers went on after the murder of their leader, of which Maoist insurgents have claimed responsibility, has targeted Christian communities. Most Christians in the Kandhamal, Bargarh and Koraput Deogarh districts of Orissa are Dalits and Adivasis (tribal or indigenous people).
State and federal governments and law enforcement authorities have stood by and it has taken days for them to react to the violence. Only after four days was a state of emergency declared along with a police order to shoot rioters on sight.
Read a 17 December 2008 report on the Orissa violence by the Human Rights Law network in India.
Read the joint appeal on the Orissa violence by Asian Human Rights Commission, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and the International Dalit Solidarity Network.
Link to the joint statement issued by Asian Human Rights Commission, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights and the International Dalit Solidarity Network on 30 August 2008.