Naveen Patnaik visits Kandhamal

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 27: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday, Sep 27 announced a series of packages for the development of strife -torn Kandhamal, gripped by communal violence for over a month.

Mr Patnaik who visited Kandhamal for the second time during the month, held two review meetings with senior officials of the district and appealed people to maintain peace and harmony.

He announced several developmental programme to be taken up in the district to pacify the agitated tribals who are up in arms against the local administration and the ''Pana'' Community, most of whom have converted to Christianity.

On his return from Kandhamal, Mr Patnaik told newspersons at his residence here that he could not meet any tribal leader there during his visit but made it clear that he was willing to have dialogue with any tribal leaders who have positive mindset for peace and development.

The Chief Minister's statement assumed much significance in view of the decision of tribals in Kandhamal under the leadership of Kui Samaj president Lambodar Kuanr to hold a convention at Chakapada tomorrow to chalk out future course of action.

Around 30 people have been killed, several prayer houses burnt and hundreds of houses damaged after communal violence erupted in the district in the wake of the assassination of VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his disciples on August 23.

As many as 50 companies of CRPF in addition to the state armed police had been deployed in the area to contain violence Mr Patnaik said peace and harmony must be maintained at all costs and there should be no leniency towards the perpetrators of violence.

UNI

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