Orissa Governor visits riot-hit Kandhmal

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 9 (UNI) Orissa Governor M C Bhandare today visited riot-hit Kandhamal district, which witnessed communal violence in the wake of the assassination of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples on August 23.

Mr Bhandare visited Kalinga and went to Kurmingia village where he talked to the villagers to personally assess the prevailing situation.

Later, the Governor visited a relief camp at G Udayagiri and spent nearly 30 minutes inquiring about the well being of the people taking shelter there ever since the violence and arson was reported in the district.

Mr Bhandare requested the people to return to their village and promised them that their houses damaged in the riots would be repaired. He also visited another relief camp at Tikabali and distributed sweets to the children .

The Governor would stay the night at Phulbani where he would review the situation with the senior police and civil officials of the district.

He is scheduled to visit the Jaleshpata Ashram under the Tumudibandh police station where VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples were assassinated by some unknown assailants on the night of August 23.

Several social activists, led by Swami Agnivesh who were denied permission to visit the trouble torn Kandhamal, had urged the Governor to make a visit to the affected areas and make an independent assessment of the prevailing situation there and apprise the Centre of the findings of his visit.

A delegation of the Congress party, led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly J B Pattnaik, also met the Governor on August 25 and urged him to intervene in Kandhamal where the life and property of the minority community were in great danger.

The Opposition Congress also demanded that the power conferred under Schedule 5 of the Constitutions be invoked to prevent communal violence and restore peace in the area alleging that the state government was trying to crate an atmosphere of communal hatred for petty political gains.

Official sources today said the situation in Kandhamal was fast returning to normalcy with no untoward incidents reported in the district during the past few days.

However, the authorities had claimed night curfew in some sensitive pockets of the district and promulgated prohibitory orders banning any procession or meeting in the district till the situation described as normal.

Meanwhile, responding to Union Minister of state for Urban Development and AICC leader in charge of Orissa Ajaya Mekan's demand to hold a CBI inquiry into Kandhamal incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said the crime branch had already started investigating into the case and a judicial inquiry had been ordered.

'' We must wait for the findings of the inquiry of the crime branch and the judicial inquiry, '' the Chief Minister remarked.

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