2010-11-06 13:26:01

Orissa victims to promote justice through media

(November 06, 2010) Pradeep Nayak, a young Catholic from Orissa does not want a repeat of what his people underwent two years ago. “I am a victim of communal violence and know what it is to be poor and voiceless,” said Nayak, who is among 12 students of journalism from Orissa in a Church-run National Institute of Social Communication, Research and Training, near New Delhi. He said the 12 were among survivors of anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal, a tribal district in Orissa. What pained him most, Nayak added, was the silence in the secular media about the Orissa Christians’ sufferings. “Nobody wanted to tell the truth,” said Nayak, a master’s student, recalling that his people’s plight came to light only after The Hindu newspaper highlighted their case on October 1, 2008. Violence began after an alleged Maoist group gunned down a Hindu religious leader on August 23, 2008. Hindu radicals blamed the crime on Christians, and torched churches and Christian homes. Nayak narrated how he ran with family members to the forest as marauding Hindu mobs descended on his Raikia village. They remained in the forest for three days without proper clothes, food and water, he explained. Nayak said their Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese took the initiative to enrol Kandhamal youth for media studies in the New Delhi Social Communication Institute, managed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Nayak expressed his wish to promote justice through his writings and projects after his study. His companions too expressed their gratitude to the church for the funding and said that they wish to repay the Church by working for the people of their state.

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