New Delhi, Sept 25 : Keeping in view the continuing incidents of violence against the members of a minority community in Kandhamal District of Orissa, the Central Government has asked the Orissa Government to take effective, focused and firm measures to stop the violence and restore peace and normalcy in the State.
In a communication sent by the Union Home Secretary, Madhukar Gupta today, the Centre has asked the State Government to take measures including identification and apprehension of the elements who continue to stoke communal violence and hatred and indulge in disruptive activities.
The message said that repeated incidents of violence which indicate that anti-social elements continue to be active is a matter of serious concern and cannot be allowed to continue.
The Centre has called for stringent action against all those who may already have been arrested for violence to bring them to justice. Precautionary and preventive measures, including patrolling of vulnerable areas are also necessary.
The Central Government has asked the State government to review the situation and action taken by the law enforcement agencies and issue strict instructions to all concerned to ensure that the prevailing situation of lawlessness in some areas of the State is effectively brought under control.
The State government has been asked to ensure that the 43 companies of Central para military forces made available to the State government are effectively deployed and utilised, as there is a considerable scope for optimization of deployment and the use of these forces.
The Centre has asked for a detailed report from the State government in this regard. arlier in the day, curfew was clamped in nine sensitive areas of Kandhamal district in the wake of fresh violence in the region. Nearly 100 houses and a couple of churches and prayer houses were either set afire or damaged in about half-a-dozen places under Daringibadi, G Udaygiri and Tikabali police stations around dawn break.
At least 42 companies of security forces including CRPF and Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed since violence broke out after the recent killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.
Though additional forces were rushed to several sensitive areas to control the situation, movement of security personnel was badly affected due to obstructions on roads placed by miscreants.
Huge logs and boulders were placed at around 42 places in Tikabali and G Udaygiri areas, making it virtually impossible for security forces to proceed.
Hindu hard-liners claim that missionaries force or bribe people to convert to Christianity.
The missionaries, who work mostly with poor tribes in the region, deny that anyone has been pressured or paid to change their religious beliefs.