40 deaths in Kandhamal is making Man Mohan Singh's life miserable.
Though over 1,000 people belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities died in Gujarat riot in 2002, the nation could sustain the shock and continued its secular image.
Barely six years after, another ethno-communal riot in Orissa's Kandhamal district, have consumed 40 people belonging to both Hindu and Christian communities.
This time, the country had been put in difficult situation, unable to face the international community.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been singled out when he attended any international meet.
What could be the similarities and dissimilarities between the two riots that had put the country in such a tight spot?
When Muslims were victims in Gujarat, it had been more elite community, the Christians in Orissa.
According to the official version which was tabled in the Parliament as many as 790 Muslims died in Gujarat.
But in case of Orissa, the number of Christian casualty was 30.
The gravity of the two riots was clearly visible from the casualty figures.
But, this time the country and its Prime Minister was put into embarrassment.
This was because of the propaganda by the First World which Christians originally belonged to.
"They have finance and power," a senior Indian minister remarked adding that the manner in which the Orissa riot is projected drew international attention.
But in case of Gujarat riot, the negative propaganda remained unheard, unnoticed as victims were Muslims.
It is a fact that both India Prime Minister and its ministers know that involvement of Christians brought so much criticism from the international community.
Is life of a Christian more valuable than that of a Muslim or Hindu?
The union government seems to have no strategy to counter the backlash of Orissa riot which was much less in gravity and destruction.
This could be the reason as to why the centre could not impose President's Rule in Orissa.
What could be the reason; the ultimate victim of the negative propaganda had been an innocent Sikh, Man Mohan Singh.
Time and again Dr.Singh finds himself at receiving end at any of the international forums.
He is often asked to clarify on the Kandhamal situation.
The Prime Minister's reported embarrassment on Kandhamal did not end with his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during October last.
During the recent G-20 summit in Washington, Country Heads did broach it with Dr.Singh.
The issue did not come up at the official meeting, but when other Heads of State met Dr.Singh and inquired about situations in Gujarat and Orissa.
Specifically leaders asked him about the situation in Kandhamal, where they feel that oppressed class and minority Christians are persecuted by the Hindu fundamentalists and the Government is a mute spectator, said sources.
After returning from Washington, a worried Dr.Singh discussed the issue with his Cabinet colleagues including Shivraj Patil, Sharad Pawar and others.
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