Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Volunteers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) of Berhampur University have camped in the communal violence-hit villages of Kandhamal district to initiate process of communal harmony and peace.

Around 150 volunteers are taking part in the special five-day NSS camp for national integration in Kandhamal district which will end on Saturday. The project was taken up by the NSS unit and the National Integration Samiti of Berhampur University. A large chunk of the volunteers attending the camp were from colleges of Kandhamal district as the aim was to make local youths conscious of the vagaries of communal violence, said Jhansi Singh, NSS coordinator of the university. It also included volunteers from Berhampur University and the College of Nursing in the city.

The NSS volunteers targeted four communal-violence hit villages of Tikabali block. They were Gadaguda, Pikaradi, Chhatijhar and Tenturiguda. Among them Gadaguda was a village where even the administration and police were finding it hard to speed up the peace process. More than forty houses were gutted at the Gadaguda village along with death of persons in communal clashes that happened last year.

But the NSS volunteers dared to reach out and hold meetings and personal counselling to bring in peace and harmony in the minds of localites.

Collector impressed

Kandhamal district Collector Krishan Kumar was also impressed by the efforts of the NSS volunteers at Gadaguda village. Berhampur University Vice-Chancellor Bijay Kumar Sahu also reached Tikabali block to monitor the efforts of the NSS volunteers.

At all these villages, the NSS volunteers of the nursing college organised health camps.

“The volunteers tried to make people conscious about the immediate problems facing them like degrading environment, lack of education, bad health and sanitary condition so that they get distracted from the memories of communal tension to start a new life,” said Ms. Singh.

Street play

A street play ‘Shantiduta’ was enacted by the volunteers at all the adopted villages. The 22 NSS volunteers from Kui tribal community in the camp also played a major role in the peace process. They tried to persuade the tribal families towards communal harmony through songs, dances and stories in Kui language.

The NSS volunteers camped at the AMCS College at Tikabali and spent their time from morning till night at their adopted villages. The tribal youth of the adopted villages had a chance to open up their eyes and learn what changes had arrived in the outer world by interacting with the young NSS volunteers of their age. Many of these illiterate youths could be persuaded to take up studies again.

The NSS unit of Berhampur University plans to hold some more similar camps in the communal violence-hit areas of Kandhamal district the expedite the peace process in the area.