We want Naveen Patnaik to step down: Indian Church

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 26: A church in Kandhamal district has demanded resignation of the Orissa Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik following the case of an orphanage run by Christian missionaries that was set ablaze on Monday, Aug 25 night, sparking violence. A state of high alert is observed in places of Kandhamal in Orissa on Tuesday, Aug 26 morning. Curfew is imposed in places of Phulbani, Baliguda, Tumbdibandh and Nuagon areas of Kandhamal district and situation remained tense in various pockets of Bargarh, Sundergarh, Koraput, Boudh and Sambalpur districts as well.

Two companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were rushed to Kandhamal by the Central Government and six additional companies were reported to be on their way. At least eight churches were set on fire across the state during Monday"s bandh, out of which six were in Kandhamal.

The various district administration in the communal-sensitive areas were asked to form 'peace committees' to ensure the situation remained under control.

The Monday Night Incident

A nun was burnt alive in Bargarh area of Orissa by some unidentified miscreants during the VHP called bandh on Monday, Aug 25. They also set fire to an orphanage. A priest is also hospitalised.

Normal life was disrupted across Orissa on Monday, Aug 25 as thousands of people staged demonstrations in several places as part of a statewide shutdown called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to protest the killing of a leader of the outfit on Saturday, Aug 24.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of VHP's central advisory committee, and four other people were killed at his Jalespata ashram, some 340 km from here, Saturday, Aug 23 evening after more than 30 suspected Maoist rebels opened fired on them. The ashram is in Kandhamal district.

Saraswati was leading a campaign against cow slaughter and religious conversion in the communally sensitive Kandhamal district. The district, with a population of around 600,000 including 150,000 Christians, has witnessed numerous clashes between Hindus and Christians in the past.

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