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By Young India Group Rajasthan

The children's right to education, health and nutrition has been out of the focus of democratic political framework of development for many years. This reality has not given them the care and attention they deserve. The situation becomes worst when children fall victim to communal clashes and suffer in silence the adverse impact. Religious violence and extremism (also called communal violence is a term that covers all phenomena where religion, in any of its forms, is either the subject or object of violent behavior. Religious violence includes violence that is motivated by religious precepts, texts or doctrines. It also includes violence against religious institutions, persons, or objects, when the violence is motivated by the religious aspect of the target of the violence.

Orissa witnessed a spate of communal clashes in 2008 following the assassination of Hindu religious leader Swami LaxmanandaSaraswati. The clashes were mostly between the Hindu tribal and Christian communities. Precious lives and property worth crores of rupees were lost as the carnage engulfed many towns and villages. Even the places of worship were torched. Thousands of people left their home and hearth and fled to relief camps or other safer places to save life. Children and women had to undergo untold suffering due to such dreadful scenario. The sequence of violence lasted many months raising global alarm against the holocausts.This state has witnessed a virtual collapse of human values and social ethics. The trauma and deprivations of children increase when they fall victim to communal clashes. The loss of parents, relatives, friends and neighbors leave in their mind permanent scars. It becomes difficult for them to cope with various stresses and causes hindrance in their overall mental, physical and emotional development. Such violence and conflicts creates disturbance in education, adversely effects child's health, malnutrition and leads to psychological insecurity. Due to lack of data and information many times it is difficult to understand the situation of the children of this region. This work is an attempt to assess the impact of the situation on children and understand the plight of children in post communal violence situation in Kandamal District of Orissa.

The core research questions for the inquiry were:

  1. How the children have suffered during the communal riot?
  2. What about the trauma faced by children during communal violence and what is the psycho-social development issues of them at present?
  3. How the right to survival (food and health), development (education), protection ( abuse and neglect) and participation ( freedom of thought and religion) violated during and agter the communal violence?
  4. What are the specific steps taken by th government for protection of child rights in the conflict situation?

(For the Executive Summary, contact research@negfire.org)