Orissa tribal leaders question EU team visit to Kandhamal

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Bhubaneshwar, Feb. 7 (ANI): Elders and leaders of various tribes in Orissa's Kandhamal District have voiced suspicious about a European Union (EU) delegation visiting their region saying it would hamper peace and re-ignite violence.

The 11-member EU delegation visited Kandhamal region on Wednesday.

The delegation held discussions with Orissa Government officials Christian leaders and human rights activists in Bhubaneswar.

Addressing the media here, the tribal leaders recalled that Kandhamal was rocked by communal violence in mid-2008, sparked off by the murder of a senior Hindu leader.

Consequently, the area witnessed large-scale killings. Hundreds of families were forced to flee to safer locations.

On this score, the tribal leaders alleged that the EU team's one-day stay at Kandhamal has started creating ripples.

"They have met a particular community and interacted with them. They also conducted a secret meeting. By doing this, we are predicting that Kandhamal will again become volatile. They have already sown the seeds of conflict between different faiths in the area," claimed Karendra Majhi, a tribal leader.

The EU delegation was supposed to visit the area to assess socio-economic cultural development after riots.

However, elders in Kandhamal contend that the delegation met people of only one community behind closed doors which raised many eyebrows.

"EUs delegation from eleven countries came to review the socio-economic development of the society after the riots. But from their programme it seems that their visit is communal. They are trying to influence the authorities, police department and judiciary,"noted Laxmikanta Das, General Secretary, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram.

"This is dangerous for the internal security of the region and we are completely against this. The state government has knowingly supported them, which is highly condemnable," he added. (ANI)

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