Rajni Majhi, charred to death on Monday when a BJP-VHP mob torched the Missionary Orphan Centre in Bargarh district of Orissa, wasn’t even a Christian.
The mob, protesting Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda’s killing in Kandhamal, attacked Father Eddie’s home at Khuntpali in Bargarh.
The 19-year-old tribal girl, daughter of Laxmiprasad Mahakud, a labourer, had been adopted by Buchu Majhi.
It’s a common practice in rural Orissa to give a newborn up for adoption to ward off “evil eyes”. Buchu performed her last rites according to Hindu rituals. He said, “My daughter fell prey to an evil eye.”
Rajni stayed in the orphanage because her family could not afford higher education. She used to cycle to Padampur Women’s College, six km from the home.
Fondly called Rajni Nani, she would look after the 22 children in the home. “She was more than a mother to us,” said Trinath Sabar, an inmate.