M A I N   N E W S

Fresh violence in Orissa
Police station torched, houses attacked

Phulbani, December 26
Despite heavy deployment of security personnel, fresh violence and arson today broke out in riot-hit Kandhamal district as a police station was torched and 10 houses were attacked that left 11 persons injured.

Miscreants set afire a police station at Phiringia, one of the violence-hit areas in Kandhamal, director-general of police Gopal Nanda told PTI.

Fresh violence had broken out in the wee hours in the Brakhama area where miscreants set afire about four houses and indulged in stone-pelting, leaving 11 persons injured, police sources said.

About half-a-dozen houses were attacked and residents threatened by unidentified persons in Jaleshpata, they said.

Curfew continued in the four sensitve towns of Baliguda, Daringibadi, Brahmanigaon and Phulbani and there was no report of fresh violence from there, revenue divisional commissioner Satyabrata Sahu said.

Prohibitory orders have been clamped in the entire district, home secretary T.K. Mishra said adding the situation was under control even as sporadic violence took place during the day.

Sahu claimed the situation was gradually improving but did not rule out sporadic violence in villages, which remained out of the purview of curfew.

Tension continued to prevail in the tribal-dominated district where churches and convents were attacked and set afire yesterday after an assault on VHP leader Laxamanananda Saraswati who led an anti-conversion movement in the area.

The communal violence in Kandhamal has already claimed one life and triggered large-scale violence on the Xmas day in the district as a backlash to the attack on Saraswati.

The police was finding it difficult to access violence-hit areas as protestors obstructed roads by felling trees, he said adding Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force was engaged in clearing roads.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held two rounds of meetings with senior officials to review the situation. He said adequate forces had been deployed in Kandhamal district and the situation was “under control”.

The telecommunication network of BSNL was paralysed for several hours since afternoon snapping links with the violence-hit areas.

“We are trying to accertain the reason behind disruption of telecommunication facility in Kandhamal district,” a senior BSNL officer said. He, however, could not confirm whether there was any sabotage in telecommunication or not.

Meanwhile, the condition of Laxamananda Saraswati was stated to be improving. Saraswati was admitted in a hospital in Cuttack, sources said.

The district, earlier called Phulbani, is considered one of the most communally sensitive regions in the state with numerous clashes reported between Hindus and Christians in the past. — PTI 



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