Violence continues in Kandhamal in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 28 : Violence continued unabated on Thursday in Kandhamal District of Orissa for the fifth day inspite of the shoot-at-sight order imposed in eight blocks of the communally sensitive district.

The latest outbreak of violence was reported from remote places of Tikabali and G Udaygiri where the police have failed to reach.

Earlier, incidents were reported from Sundergarh, Rayagada, Gajapati and Bolangir districts.

In a backlash to the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on Saturday night, the violence has claimed ten lives in Orissa so far.

While the police are still carrying out investigations into the killing of the VHP leader, people of the region are living a panic- gripped life.

Red alert has been sounded and the authorities appealed to the people to help them restore normalcy.

"Curfew has been imposed in eight town areas where there is disturbance, we are asking the Executive Magistrates and the senior officers who are camping at the block headquarters to impose curfew and I would request the people of all sections of the population to maintain calm in the area," Revenue Divisional Commissioner Satyavrat Sahu told to ANI.

In many areas people are very scared and many people have started living in the jungles fearing further violence.

"Houses have been burnt. Our people have run away into the jungle. We don't know what is happening. It has been three days and we have nothing to eat," said Janaki.

Many said that they failed to understand why they are being targeted.

"Why are we being targeted? We don't know anything. There is nobody to help us. Nobody has come to help us till now, all our belongings have been burnt," said Nayani, another local.

The remote and forested Kandhamal region is rife with religious tension between hardline Hindus who accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith.

The region is also a stronghold of Maoist rebels and police said that there is evidence to link the rebels to last week's murders.

The police sources said that by attacking Hindus, the Maoists were trying to win support among the region's poor tribes, many of whom have converted to Christianity.

Shoot-at-sight was ordered on Wednesday in eight blocks, Phulbani, Baliguda, Tumudibandh, Raikia, Nuagaon, G Udaygiri, Tikabali and Sankarakhol of Kandhamal District.

ANI

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