Even as community leaders called for peace, crude bombs were also hurled on Monday, Sep 29 at two places and houses burned as the faith-fuelled fire of hatred refused to die out in Kandhamal. Reports from various parts of the district said blasts were directed at relief camps where Christian families, who have been targetted by Hindu activists since the August 23 killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a local VHP leader who had spewed venom against conversions.
While two crude bombs exploded in separate incidents at Baliguda and K Nuagaon areas on Sunday night, five houses were reportedly torched under Gochhapada police station area in Phirigia block, officials said.
No injuries were reported in Monday's violence, the official toll in the ethnic and communal violence rose to 31 with the administration confirming recovery of one more body from Badasalunki river at Bisipada village near Phulbani.
On Sunday, police found the body of Priyatamma Digal, an auxiliary nursing and midwife (ANM) worker, from the river. On Monday, the body of Meghanath, Priyatamma's husband, was fished out. The couple was killed last Thursday.
Local administration held discussions with representatives of warring groups. Tribal Kandh leaders have in the last couple of days called for peace and have come to the negotiating table to talk with Dalit Pana, Christian and Hindu communities as well as some moderates.
"We decided to form committees comprising representatives from all religions, communities and interested groups. Such committees would move around the district and appeal for peace and amity," said district collector Krishna Kumar, who chaired the meeting. He said committees should be on the ground on October 2, marking Gandhi Jayanti celebrations. The day has also been picked for holding "sadbhavana rallies".