Bhubaneswar, Sep 4: Home Minister Shivraj Patil payed a visit to Kandhamal and announced a compensation of 3 lakhs to kins of the family who were killed in the communal clashes.
The state government which had, till the visit of Patil imposed restriction on the entry of outsiders including politicians, lifted the ban. Patil, who was earlier apprised the situation at a review meeting, said restoring peace and tranquillity was the prime objective for the Centre as well as for the state government. Announcing all help to the state government to tide over the situation, Patil said he had asked the Chief Minister to prepare a plan for rehabilitating the affected people who had lost their near and dear ones as well as houses.
He said the Centre was in favour of a CBI probe into the incident and the Central agency was also ready to take up the case. However, either the state government should ask for it or the court gives such a direction, he added.
Life has been limping back to normal in the riot-hit Kandhamal with no fresh trouble reported amid suspension of daytime curfew and deployment of 500 CRPF personnel.
"This sort of incident which took place here is unprecedented," Patil said adding that the present situation in the district was somewhere between 'normal and volatile'.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said peace was returning to Kandhamal and asked the officials to respond to the Supreme Court which asked for a report on the steps taken by the state government to protect the lives of Christians.
With a large number of people shifting to relief camps guarded by security personnel, most of the villages remain vacant.
"I understand that people are still in panic as most of the villages remain deserted," Patil told reporters after visiting Tiangia village where at least four persons were killed and several houses burnt during the riot.