Committee to assess Kandhamal violence

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 10 (UNI) A committee will soon be set up to assess the situation in strife-torn Kandhamal, which witnessed communal clashes between the Tribals and the Christians, and suggest remedial measures.

A decision to this effect was taken at the state level Integration Council meeting held here today under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Ajit Kumat Tripathy. The meeting was convened to take stock of the situation prevailing in Kandhamal in the wake of communal clashes.

Briefing newspersons after the meeting, the Chief Secretary said the members suggested that the government should set up a committee as it did during the 1994 communal clashes to find out the remedial measures to prevent its recurrance.

The Orissa government had appointed senior IAS officer Sanjeeb Chandra Hota to head the committee to probe the 1994 communal violence in Kandhamal between the Tribals and the Panas and suggest measures to prevent recurrence of such violence in future.

Mr Tripathy said it was also suggested by the members that the Integration Council meetings should be regularly held at Panchayat and District level and confidence building measures be taken up at the political and administrative levels to restore peace and harmony among the communities in the strife-torn district.

BJP representative Balgopal Mohapatra demanded that the funding to the NGOs operating in Kandhamal be regulated and the government must take adequate security measures in the sensitive areas.

Arch Bishop Raphel Cheenath suggested that the NGOs be involved in the relief measures under police protection. He requested that the government should allow him to visit the area to pacify the situation and instil confidence among the Christian community.

UNI DP SJC SB RAI2129

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