First documentary on Kandhamal martyrs to be released soon in Kerala

2016-07-14 Vatican Radio

A documentary film that captures the agony of Kandhamal villagers of the eastern Indian state of Odisha is all set for release in Kerala, India.

Directed by K P Sasi, “Voice from the Ruins – Kandhamal in search of Justice,” will be screened at three different places in Kerala, southern India, in the second half of July.

The 90-minute film “not just captures the agony of the people; but narrates their journey and struggle to secure justice,” says Fr.  Ajaya Kumar Singh, a social activist who has been working among the survivors of the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal.

V S Achuthanandan, a former Kerala chief minister and noted Communist leader, will open the film’s screening at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala state capital, on July 19. Fr Singh and Dhirendra Panda, coordinator of the National Solidarity Forum, are scheduled to lead the discussion on the film after the screening.

The film will be first screened at Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Thrissur, on July 17 and at K P Kesavan Memorial Hall in Kozhikode the following day. Fr Singh told Matters India that the film focuses on the history of Odisha Christians and reasons for attacks on them.

Kandhamal district in Odisha is mainly inhabited by Tribals and Dalits, many of them Christians. A hate campaign against the Kandhamal Christians started in late 1960s and sustained for several decades culminating in violence in 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

In 2008, Kandhamal witnessed the worst violence against Christians in modern India. It led to the destruction of more than 350 churches, displacement of over 56,000 people, destruction of over 6,500 houses, deaths of over 93 people and abuse of over 40 women. The survivors of the violence still struggle for proper compensation, rehabilitation and justice delivery systems.

(from Vatican Radio)