Cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and hundreds of growing urban centers in India are developing into islands of prosperity and opportunity; little is tricking down to the poor rural areas across the country. Orissa-one of India’s poorest state, is experiencing acute food shortage. National Human Rights Commission-New Delhi based national organization, recently conducted on the spot investigation over reports of starvation death in the state’s Balangir District.
Orissa has also seen violent communal conflict, stemming from lack of economic opportunity and rising religious extremism. In last five years, there have been a number of cases of religion influenced violence in the state. In 2008, riots broke out in Khandhaml district between Hindus and Christians, many families were displaced and forced to live in temporary camps. Same year, reported rape of a nun by alleged Hindu fanatics in the district also sparked violence. Tensions are still high in the area.
Orissa’s tale of misery is not isolated one. Throughout India, large pockets of economic, social and political deprivation are fast growing-posing threat to the stability of the nation.
Discontent in Orissa-among the Hindus and Christians, could give rise to local insurgency movement; where each group seeks to establish a separate homeland. Limited economic opportunity, resources and poverty could further strengthen communal animosity.
Previously published at World Security Network