Eight Prayer houses damaged in Orissa

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Bhubaneshwar, Sep 1: A day after Church leaders of Orissa reportedly threatened both the Centre and state of raising a militia for self-defence, 8 prayer houses were again damaged in Kundra area of Koraput.

Violence was reported from more areas in Koraput district in southern Orissa on Sunday, Aug 31 even as the situation was limping back to normality in the riot-hit Kandhamal district. Violence erupted in the district following a clash between two groups in Jeypore town on Saturday, Aug 30 and five churches were damaged. Curfew was clamped and it is still in force.

In Kandhamal, two groups of women victims clashed at a relief camp at Baliguda over distribution of relief material. More than 9,000 people have taken shelter in the seven relief camps opened in different areas of Kandhamal to help families affected by the violence triggered by the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda.

On Saturday, Aug 30 Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik faced an angry group of protesters when he visited a relief camp at Tikabali. The families affected by the riots raised slogans against Patnaik and asked him to go back. Asked whether his government would hand over the case pertaining to the killing of the swami to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Patnaik replied in the negative. He expressed the hope that the State police would be able to arrest the culprits.

On Monday, Sep 1 all the a delegation is set to meet President Pratibha Patil. The meeting with Prime MInister didi not prove fruitful for the delegation. "We met the Prime Minister, the Home Minister. However, I have my doubts that anything fruitful will come out of it. All that we keep getting are fine words that 'this will be done and that will be done'. In reality not only Kandhamal but many districts in Orissa are burning," the church member said.

On the other hand, shortage of security personnel was also making it hard to restore peace in the district. Curfew continues to remain in force in eight towns of the district.


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