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Orissa: 'There's only 1 jawan for every village'

September 02, 2008 19:33 IST

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At least 80 houses were torched in sporadic violence in Orissa's riot-hit Kandhamal district even as the state government suspended day curfew and beefed up relief and rehabilitation operations.

A high-level team of officials, including Home Secretary T K Mishra and Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda, visited the district to review the situation and assess the extent of damage, official sources said on Tuesday.

The visit was to work out strategies for containing arson and violence in the communally-sensitive district as well as stepping up relief and rehabilitation operations for the affected people, they said.

At least 80 houses were torched in fresh arson in several villages of Tikabali and Sarangada areas since Monday afternoon despite considerable improvement in situation that prompted authorities to suspend day curfew, the sources said.

Describing force scarcity as a big handicap in containing arson, IGP (Intelligence) R P Singh said only 2,500 personnel from various forces, including Central Reserve Police Force, were available to combat violence in villages across the district.

"As the arson continues to trouble rural pockets, there is only one jawan to tackle the situation in every village," a senior police officer said.

Several women were also seen indulging in arson at some places, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division, Satyabrata Sahu said, adding more measures were being taken to tackle the situation.

However, the situation was now effectively under control and fast returning to normal, said another official.

As many as 19,000 riot-affected people were sheltered in relief centres set up in 10 of the district's 12 blocks.

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