Orissa bandh turns violent;Slained VHP leader buried

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 25 (UNI) One woman employee of an orphanage was burnt to death, a dozen places of worships were ransacked, while government and private property damaged during the dawn-to-dusk Orissa bandh, which crippled life across the state in protest against the killing of senior VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four others at Jalaspeta Ashram in Kandhmal district on August 23.

A Sambalpur report said the VHP activists set fire to a missionary school hostel at Khuntpali in Bargarh district in which one woman employee was burnt alive and another one critically injured, The inmates of the orphanage fled the hostel out of fear and 22 students were reported missing.

The deceased woman employee was yet to be identified. The father of the Orphanage was also injured and undergoing treatment at Padmapur sub-divisional hospital.

Police said since no staff were present in the hostel, it was difficult to identify the body of the lady. Two policemen deployed earlier at the missionary hostel were beaten up by the activists and their two-wheelers were also burnt, officer-in-charge of Padmapur police station Amarendra Sandh said.

The mob also attacked the fire brigade vehicle. The Baragarh Collector and Superintendent of Police had rushed to the spot with additional reinforcement to take stock of the situation. No arrest had been made so far in connection with the incident.

The 12-hour bandh virtually brought life to a standstill all over Orissa as movement of trains and vehicles came to a total halt, while business establishments were closed. The state government had ordered the closure of all educational institutions.

Banks were also closed across the state, while the courts, including the High Court, could not function in the absence of the lawyers and staff. Government offices reported thin attendance and several towns wore deserted look, throwing life out of gear.

In the state capital, the VHP activists ransacked the Xavier Institute and NISWAS institute, founded by Congress MP Radhakanta Nayak. One ATM counter at the Xavier Institute was also damaged during the bandh.

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