Orissa: PM assures to restore communal harmony

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New Delhi, Dec 31: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today assured that communal harmony would be restored in the violence-hit areas of Orissa. Dr Singh also told a group of Christian leaders, who met him, that necessary action would be taken to restore communal peace in the state.

He further said that any attempts to disturb communal peace and the secular fabric of the country would be sternly dealt with, adding that the Government would take steps to protect the religious freedom to all citizens. He assured the delegation that steps would be taken to offer appropriate compensation for damage to property. A Union Minister is likely to visit the State in this regard. Earlier today, Dr Singh talked to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the situation in the state.

The law and order situation in Orissa's Kandhamal District has largely improved. At least three people were killed in the violence that was sparked off on December 24 when Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists led mobs burnt down churches.

Over a dozen churches and prayer houses in Khandamal District were torched by the suspected saffron activists over Christmas celebrations.

The saffron activists were reportedly agitated following an attack on VHP leader Laxamanananda Saraswati, who led an anti-conversion movement.

ANI>

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