Curfew continues in riot-hit areas of Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 27: Curfew continued on Thursday in four towns of Orissa's Kandhamal District following the killing of a youth and the ransacking of churches.

Paramilitary troops today marched through riot-hit areas, which were relatively peaceful after clashes between the two communities since the Christmas eve. Superintendent of Police Narasimha Bhol said except one or two minor incidents, the Kandhamal district by and large remained peaceful in the past 18 hours. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will stage a flag march in the other affected areas of the district. Meanwhile, the district administration had constituted a peace committee in the area.

The situation in some parts has improved. But tension continued in other areas such as Baliguda and Daringibadi. Many Christian families flee homes in Barkhama.

Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik has reviewed the situation and the steps being taken to bring normalcy in Kandhamal district. Meanwhile, the Centre has asked the State Government for a detailed report. Fresh incidents of violence were reported from curfew-bound areas of Barakhama and Jaleshpata on Wednesday.

According to police, four houses were torched outside Abraham, and six others were set on fire in Jaleshpata. Laxmanananda Saraswati, a VHP leader and prominent anti-conversion activist was allegedly attacked on Monday that gave a violent turn to things.

Violence broke out in Phulbani, Baliguda, Daringibadi and Brahmanigaon as VHP activists ransacked six churches in Baliguda area disrupted Christmas festivities on Tuesday.

More than 27 platoons of armed police and three companies of CRPF have been deployed in the district to prevent further escalation of violence. As a precautionary measure, prohibitory orders were also imposed in Phiringia, Tikabali, Udaigiri and Raikia.

The CPM has condemned the attacks on minorities and their institutions. In a press statement in New Delhi, the Polit Bureau accused the Orissa Government of having failed to protect them and their property. It demanded deployment of adequate security forces in the affected areas and punishment to those responsible for the violence.

ANI>

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