Kandhmal violence: Curfew in nine sensitive areas

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 1: Perturbed over continuing violence and group clashes in some pockets of the strife-torn Kandhmal district over the past few days, the authority on Wednesday, Oct 1 clamped the day curfew in nine sensitive police station limits to prevent violence from spreading to other areas.

Revenue Divisional Commissioner(RDC) Satyabrata Sahu said, ''The day curfew was imposed in Phulbani,Baliguda, G Udayagiri, Raikia, Tikabali, Nuagaon, Tumudibandh,Saranggada and Gochhapada police station areas.'' He informed that the situation prevailing in the police station limits would be reviewed in the evening and a decision to extend the curfew would be taken. The authority was forced to reimpose curfew from Wednesday, Oct 1 morning following violence and community clashes reported in five villages under G Udayagiri police station on Tuesday, Sep 30 in which a woman was killed and several others injured.

Several houses were also torched by the miscreants leading to a bloody clash in which members from both the community used firearms and indulged in heavy brickbats. Mr Sahoo said though the trouble was more or less confined to five villages, the authority,in a bid to prevent the violence from spreading to other areas,decided to clamp the day curfew in the nine police stations.

The police stations in the district have witnessed communal violence during the past one month following the assassination of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples on August 23 inside the Jalaspeta Ashram in Kandhmal district.

Furthermore, the RDC has ordered that the people holding gun licenses in the district should surrender their arms and ammunition within the next 24 hours failing which strong action would be taken.

The police also launched a ''house to house'' search operation to seize the unlicensed and illegal guns from the people in the district.The police have, meanwhile, arrested 25 people in connection with yesterday's communal clashes in Rudangia, Telingia and Gadaguda villages under G Udayagiri block. Apprehending action from the police, people deserted the villages. Two companies of CRPF and Orissa Armed Police force had been garrisoned in the Gadaguda panchayats and police reinforcements rushed to the nearby villages to contain further violence.

Sources said over 12 people had been critically wounded in the clashes. While some of them had been admitted to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital, two critical ones were rushed to the SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, meanwhile, termed the violence ''most unfortunate'', adding the guilty would be severely punished.

Mr Patnaik directed some senior officials to rush to the districts to monitor the situation. Newly-appointed Director General of Police (DGP) Manmohan Praharaj, who took over the post on Tuesday, Sep 30, will visit Kandhamal today to review the law and order situation, apart from taking appropriate steps to contain the violence.

Mr Praharaj said, ''The situation in Kandhamal will no more be tolerated and those involved in flaring up the violence would be taken to task.''

UNI

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