Tribal Identity, Religious Conversion and Violence in India

A Preliminary Note

Sarbeswar Sahoo Indian Institute of Technology

On 23rd December 2007, when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was celebrating the electoral victory of Narendra Modi in Gujarat, a group of approximately 150 to 200 militant Hindutva activists in Kandhamal district of Orissa pulled out a pastor from the bus. He was beaten, tonsured and paraded naked.  The next day, a mob of about 3000 people, armed with tridents, axes, crude bombs and kerosene, attacked the Church of our Lady of Lourdes, burnt the altar and destroyed the Christmas decorations. 

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