European Union team meets cops, leaders over 2008 Kandhamal riots

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 4 (ANI): An eleven-member European Union (EU) team, which is to visit Orissa's Kandhamal district to interact with riot victims, on Wednesday met government officials, Christian leaders and social activists here and discussed the situation in the region.

The delegation, which comprises members from Spain, Hungary, Poland, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Britain, met the top brass of the state police earlier in the day and discussed the prevailing situation in Kandhamal.

The delegation was denied permissions to visit the riot-hit district by the government last year.

Archbishop Rafel Chinat told reporters that riot victims of Kandhamal were still gripped by fear, and the EU delegation visit might give them a new ray of hope.

"There is fear and anxiety among the people who have settled down and who are waiting to go back there because of the threat, and things like that. But, I think, going of this European Union (delegation) is not going to create any further troubles because central government as well state government have considered several days; twice they denied, and this is the third time, so they have taken necessary precaution to see that nothing untoward happens," said Archbishop Chinat.

Violence in Kandhamal erupted in 2008 after armed men killed a Hindu leader and four others, an attack Hindus blamed on Christians.

The leader had been heading a local campaign to reconvert Hindus and tribal people from Christianity. (ANI)

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