Kandhamal communal clash, 13 arrested, VHP observes bandh

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 25 (UNI) Police today arrested 13 people in connection with yesterday's communal clash in Brahamanigao village under Baliguda subdivision of the Kandhamal district. Kandhamal District Superintendent of Police Narasingha Bhol tol UNI over phone today that while nine people from the Christian community were arrested on charges of attacking Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati, four Hindus were arrested for causing damages and ransacking a few shops last night.

Mr Bhol said the situation was tense and 13 platoons of security personnel had been deployed in all vulnerable areas to prevent any untoward incident.

Another six platoons had been rushed to the area from other district but the movement of security personnel was hampered as various organisations and groups had blocked the roads at various places.

The SP said while the RSS supporters had blocked the road at Baliguda, G Udaygiri and Raikia, the Qui samaj had blocked the roads at Phulbani, Khajirpada and Tukabali and the Christian community at Brahamnigaon and Daringibadi area.

The SP appealed to the people to remove the blockade and facilitate the movement of security personnel to maintain peace.

At least six persons were injured while the members of Kui community opposed the erection of a gate by the Christian community on a disputed land to celebrate Christmas.

As per the reports both sides resorted to brick batting and the situation took an ugly turn as some villagers fired from their country made guns.

After the news broke Swami Laxamananda Sarswati of Chakapada Ashram, with some of his followers, rushed to the site in a jeep to enquire about the incident.

While he was on his way to the spot, some people attacked him.

Though unofficial sources said three persons including the Swami sustained injuries in the attack, Mr Bhol said only one of his followers was injured in the attack.

VHP activists today called for a four-hour Orissa Bandh to protest against the attack on Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

Vehicular traffic was affected as the bandh supporters blocked roads in different parts of the state and also on the national highways The movement of trains in Orissa was also affected for a brief period as the bandh supporters squatted on the track at various stations UNI

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