Bomb hurled at Odisha Church, as vigilante violence on the rise This is the second time a bomb has been hurled at a minority religious site. In March 2024, a bomb had been reportedly hurled at a mosque in the state’s Sambalpur.

18, Jun 2024 | CJP Team

Late on June 14, unknown people vandalised the Baptist Church on Mission Road near Buxi Bazaar in Cuttack by reportedly hurling a bomb at the Church. Sources report that church members were holding a meeting around 10 PM when the incident took place. Although no one witnessed the act, the explosion has reportedly caused  substantial damage to the church’s concrete floor. 

As per the New Indian Express, locals have stated that they suspect that the vandalism was intended to create a ruckus and disturb the peace in the area. After learning of the incident, a team from the Cantonment police had arrived at the scene and initiated an investigation. An officer told the media that the cause of the violence is not yet discovered. 

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In March, Sabrang India has tracked how  a bomb was hurled from a nearby flyover  after at Sadar Mosque evening prayers in Sambalpur. It had struck two people and a motorcycle outside the mosque. The bomb had been concealed in a box labelled with the Instagram handle ‘sbp mafiya gang.’ A day after the incident, the police arrested a 19-year-old Abhilash Mishra of Sunaripara in Bada Bazar under Town police limits in relation to the incident. 

Rise of vigilante incidents in Odisha?

On April 7, as per Hate Detectors, an account that tracks hate crimes in India, Odisha’s Cuttack saw two  men attacked by cow vigilantes while they were travelling through an area in an autorickshaw. The attackers forced the men to chant “Jai Shri Ram” slogans. This incident occurred in Mahidharapada on April 7 and follows an earlier attack by the same group, who thrashed two other men for transporting cattle. Similar such incidents of cow vigilante violence against Muslims were witnessed in Odisha. One was witnessed in Angul on February 2024 where cow transporters were reportedly attacked by Rashtriya Bajrang Dal. 

In February, again another incident was witnessed where two Muslims were beaten and humiliated. Similarly, in June 17, 2023, capital city Bhubaneshwar saw a Hindutva mob violently attacking two young Muslim men. The victims were tied up with ropes and subjected to a brutal assault. They were shaved of their beards and also forcibly made to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and were forced to walk through garbage. This case had also been part of the PIL filed in the Supreme Court, after which the court gave directives to several states, including Odisha, on mob lynchings. However, incidents of vigilante violence have reportedly continued. Simlarly, Sambalpur had also seen violence against Muslim homes and businesses in the same year during the Hanuman Jayanti processions in the state. 

The Bajrang Dal, seen above, was also the organisation implicated in the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young children. Its member Dara Singh is serving a life sentence in prison as of now. In 2022, Sudarshan News editor and anchor Suresh Chavhanke had requested the police for permission to meet him. He was denied. Sudarshan Chavhanke was also seen in a photo that recently emerged with Dara Singh. Also, seen in the photo was the new chief minister of Odisha, Mohan Charan Majhi, who had also made a demand for the killers of the Staines family to be released in 2022. Chavhanke and, BJP MLA from Keonjhar, Majhi both had sat  down with others to protest for the release of Dara Singh. Dara Singh has been implicated in the murder of not just Graham Staines and his children, but also for another two cases of murdering a Christian missionary and a Muslim trader, as per The Hindu. 


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