Violence spreads to new areas in Kandhamal: Congress

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 27 (UNI) Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee(OPCC) President Jayadev Jena today alleged that contrary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's claim of normalcy returning to the strife-torn Kandhmal, violence is spreading to more areas in the state.

Mr Jena told news persons here that the violence continued unabated in Daringibadi, Raikia, Tikabali and Kadinga in Kandhmal district. He alleged that around 250 houses of Christians were set on fire and four people killed in Barakhama village today.

However, State Director General of Police Gopal Nanda denied the allegation, but said the situation in Brahmanigaon village was still tense.

The OPCC Chief further alleged that the government was supporting the Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) action of attacking the Christians to please its alliance partner Bhartiaya Janata Party.

Mr Jena described the brief visit of the chief minister to Phulbani today as a "political stunt". He further alleged that the chief minister had failed to check violence and ensure security and safety of the people in Kandhmal.

The Congress leader said a delegation of all Opposition parties would visit the district and organise a peace march in the area after the curfew was lifted in the area.

The trouble in Kandhmal began on Monday, when the tribals opposed the erection of a gate by the Christians on a disputed land to celebrate Christmas.

This led to a clash between the two communities, in which three tribals sustained bullet injuries. The situation turned worse when Swami Laxamananda Sarswati of Chakapada Ashram was attacked by some miscreants, while he was proceeding to the scene with some of his followers to enquire about the incident.

The authority clamped curfew in Phulbani and four other places under Baliguda sub-division on December 25 last, after a four hour Orissa Bandh called by the VHP to protest the attack on tribal turned violent in which several houses, vehicles, make shift prayer halls used as Church and police stations were set ablaze, following the death of a tribal.

UNI

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