10 Years of Kandhamal Riots: '7 Innocents Have Been Convicted'

Senior journalist Anto Akkara, who has investigated the Kandhamal riots for a decade, speaks to The Wire about the various angles of the case and how the Sangh parivar gained political mileage from the communal violence.

For the last ten years, Anto Akkara, the author of Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?, has devoted much of his time investigating the 2008 Kandhamal riots in Odisha. He has written three books on the subject.

In this interview, Akkara says that Kandhamal riots were a pre-planned pogrom by the Sangh pairvar. He goes in detail about the killing of Hindutva leader Swami Laxmanananda, which became the trigger for widespread violence against Christians of the area. He says that there is no evidence to suggest that Christians killed him. He also underlines how the judiciary failed the victims of the riots by convicting seven people who he believes are innocent.

In an important section of the interview, Akkara delves into how Sangh parivar-backed organisations circulated fake hate literature against Christians to polarise the society on religious lines. He also talks about how the police colluded with BJP, which was in power then, to target Christians and let Hindutva activists off easily.