Woman burnt alive in Bargarh, Orissa

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Bangalore, Aug 26: A 45-year-old woman, employed as a cook in a missionary school in Orissa"s Bargarh district, was burnt to death on Monday, Aug 25 when the school was set on fire allegedly by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) protesters. The pastor running the school was also injured. Initial reports said that it was a nun who was burnt alive. Later it was confirmed that the woman who dies was the cook of the school.

The VHP-sponsored bandh, to protest against the killing of their leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four disciples, witnessed attacks on churches and missionary schools across the state, reminiscent of the Graham Staines case in January 1999. In Bhubaneswar, the state capital, protesters stoned a church. Churches in Kandhamal, Bargarh, Koraput Deogarh districts were also attacked.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of VHP's central advisory committee, and four other people were killed at his Jalespata ashram, some 340 km from here, Saturday, Aug 23 evening after more than 30 suspected Maoist rebels opened fired on them. The ashram is in Kandhamal district.

Kandhamal remained tense as the Swami was cremated at his Ashram.

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