Conversion not related to Kandhamal clash

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Bhubaneswar, Dec 31 (UNI) Orissa government today clarified that the communal clash in Kandhmal district was not related to conversion in any way.

Chief Secretary Ajit Tripathy told reporters here the three incidents that occured during the last few days flared up the communal clash in the district.

He said the problem arose after the Hindus objected to Christians erecting a welcome gate at the Hatapada Chhak under the Brahamanigaon police station on December 24 last.

The attack on the Swami Laxamananda Saraswati at Dasirngbadi the next day when he was on his way to Brahamanigao escalated the tension.

The 36-hour Kalahandi district bandh on December 25 and 26 in protest against according tribal status to Kui-speaking people further multiplied the problem.

Neither of the three incidents were related to conversion, the Chief Secretary asserted.

The Tripathy said that so far 40 criminal cases were lodged at different police station against the rioters and 80 people from both the communities had been arrested.

He said a total of 51 platoons including 21 from central paramilitary forces had been deployed and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the district since Thursday.

He said that a curfew, which was in force in Phulbani, Baliguda, Daringibadi and Brahamnigaon, was relaxed during the day. Intensive patrolling was on, confidence building measures were on and peace committee meeting were held in different places to bring normalcy in the state. Relief was also being provided to affected people.

The Chief Secretary said the government suspected the hands of naxals in the attack on Brahamanigaon village and the police station on December 27 but it had not yet been confirmed.

One man died when police opened fire to disperse the rioters but till today no body was claiming the body, he said.

He said a survey was on to assess the damage caused during the communal clash.

UNI

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