Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kandhamal remains tense despite tight security

Kalinga Times Correspondent

Kandhamal, Dec 25: The situation continues to remain tense in this riot-hit district of Odisha in view of a call given by a Sangh Parivar outfit to observe bandh during the day.

Although the hundreds of Christian families attended the midnight mass at the relief camps dotting the district's landscape on Wednesday, those living outside the camps were apprehending trouble.

Despite the fact that the administration had strengthened security arrangements to instill confidence among the members of the Christian community, the district was likely to witness a complete shut down during the day as Hindu Suraksha Manch, a Sangh Parivar outfit, has distributed leaflets across the district calling for a bandh in the district.

Although Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Shradhanjali Samiti had called off its proposed statewide bandh on Christmas Day, the Manch has appealed to the people to observe a peaceful bandh on the day to register protest against the state government's failure to arrest the killers of Swami Lakshmanananda.

Another factor that had posed problem for the administration was the decision of the Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti to go ahead with it plans to organise a meeting in communally-sensitive Barakhama area of the district in memory of Khageswar Mallick, a tribal leader who was killed during the communal violence in the area on the Christmas Day last year.
The head of the Samiti, Lambodar Kanhar, who claims to be the leader of the Kui speaking tribals is a sympathiser of the Sangh Parivar. He is now vying for a Biju Janata Dal ticket to contest the Assembly polls next year.

Patrolling has been intensified and the administration is keeping a close watch on the situation in the district, but outbreak of violence and clashes between the people and security persosnnel are not being ruled out during the day.

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