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Kandhamal returns to normalcy after week-long violence

August 29, 2008 13:45 IST

Life in the trouble-torn Kandhamal has been limping back to normal on Friday after week-long riots and violence, following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati and four of his disciples on August 23.

Official sources said no major untoward incidents were reported during the past 48 hours.

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Meanwhile, the curfew, clamped on nine sensitive pockets of the district in the wake of group clashes, arson, torching of houses and worship places, was relaxed for a few hours today.

The curfew was relaxed from 8 am to 6 pm in Phulbani town and for four hours in other pockets, the sources said.

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The violence in the aftermath of Swami's killing has claimed ten lives so far, the majority of them reported in Kandhamal alone, which witnessed communal clashes leading to ransacking and burning of houses and places of worship.

Police patrolling and flag marches were being conducted to restore peace in the area. As many as 26 platoons of Orissa Armed Police, ten companies of the Central Reserve Police Force and three companies of Rapid Action Force were deployed in almost all the police stations in the district, besides sensitive remote areas.

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Bus services, suspended in the wake of arson and violence in Kandhamal district, resumed today from Phulbani. Post offices, banks and ATM counters, which were also closed, started functioning from today, the sources said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said as many as 11 criminal cases had been registered in Kandhamal in connection with the murder, arson and rioting.

Orissa: VHP men damage churches, prayer hall

The state government rehabilitated nearly 5,000 people in various relief camps in the blocks and provided them free kitchens under heavy police protection.

The state government expected arrival of more central paramilitary forces to be deployed in the sensitive areas of Kandhamal district to maintain law and order.

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Sources said that barring stray incidents of minor violence in some remote areas, the overall situation in the riot-hit Kandhamal was fast returning to normalcy.

Meanwhile, the state government appointed Cuttack Deputy Commissioner of Police Praveen Kumar as the new Superintendent of Police of Kandhamal.

Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

The government had suspended Kandhmal SP Nikhil Kanodia and the officer in charge of Tuudibandh police station, besides the personal security officer of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, on charges of dereliction of their duties after the assassination of the VHP leader.

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