BERHAMPUR: A political void among tribals in Kandhamal district allowed the Sangh Parivar to misguide the tribals in the grassroots level in a planned manner.
In 2007, the allegations of misuse of fake tribal certificates by non-tribals proved to be an unifying factor for the tribals, which was exploited by the fundamentalist forces. It also led to the emergence of a new name, Lambodar Kanhar, who was the secretary of coordination committee of different Kui Samaj organisations.
The long-standing tussle of local tribals against dalit 'Pana' community over land issues was misused by the Sangh Parivar in a premeditated manner. It may be noted that in Kandhamal district a majority of 'Panas' are Christians. And since long the Sangh Parivar was trying hard to hold control over non-Christian tribals.
Leader of tribal organisation, Lok Sangram Manch (LSM) in Kandhamal district, Nameswar Sunamajhi alleged that after the communal riots of December 2007, the grass root level decision making of the traditional caste-based tribal bodies called 'Kui Samaj' in different parts of Kandhamal district went to hands of activists of Sangh Parivar.
False caste certificates
It is alleged that during the process of uniting the tribals against racket of false caste certificates and deceitful land grabbing Mr. Kanhar allowed the Sangh Parivar to slowly get hold over the slowly crystalising unity of non-Christian tribals.
Tambaka Mukhamajhi, a tribal leader of Daringabadi area said Kui Samaj earlier used to represent tribals of all hues including the ones who were either Hindus or Christians.
The LSM activists allege that now the leaders of Kui Samaj like Mr. Kanhar are dancing to the tune of Sangh Parivar forgetting hundreds of Christian tribal families who were victims of recent communal violence.
It may be noted that Mr. Kanhar is being wooed by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leadership keeping the coming elections in mind.
Mr. Kanhar has a political past with electoral dreams with a stint in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
A political void exists in Kandhamal district. No established political leader including the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has dared till date to reach out and hold talks with the tribals and Pana community directly to end rivalry.
Local elected leaders including former State Minister, Padmanabh Behera and Sugrib Singh did not make any direct intervention when communal fire burnt in the district.
Many feel lack of charismatic political leadership among the mainstream non-BJP political parties in the district allowed the Sangh Parivar leaders to use the tribal unity for their nefarious intentions.
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