August 25, 2008 19:56 IST
Last Updated: August 25, 2008 20:49 IST
Two persons, including a woman, were burnt to death, a pastor critically injured and at least a dozen churches were torched during a 12-hour bandh called on Monday in Orissa by the saffron brigade in protest against the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.
The woman was burnt to death when unidentified persons torched an orphanage run by a Christian organisation at Phutpali in Bargarh district, official sources said.
Twenty children, who were at the orphanage, managed to escape but a pastor suffered serious burn injuries in the attack, the sources said.
Another person, identified as Rasananda Pradhan, was burnt to death when his house was set ablaze at Rupa village in Kandhamal district where the VHP leader was gunned down along with four others on Saturday night.
Churches were attacked in Khurda, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Kandhamal districts as also in state capital Bhubaneswar, police sources said, adding 40 houses were set ablaze in Phulbani town.
As the body of Saraswati reached Chakapada in Kandhamal district for the last rites, nine shops and two vehicles were torched at Raikia while two jeeps were burnt by miscreants at Udaygiri.
Home Secretary Tarunkanti Mishra told media persons that he had been information about the two casualties.
Mishra said the bandh called by the Sangh Parivar was 'total and by and large peaceful'.
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