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Orissa: Shoot at sight order in Kandhamal district
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Orissa: Bandh-related violence claims 9

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August 27, 2008 12:49 IST
Last Updated: August 27, 2008 13:25 IST

Shoot at sight order was issued in many areas of Orissa's Kandhamal district on Wednesday as large number of people defied curfew at several places and indulged in arson, official sources said.

"We have issued shoot at sight order in the wake of largescale violence in some curfew-bound areas of Kandhamal district," Revenue Divisional Commissioner (southern division) Satyabrata Sahu said over phone.

The order was issued after a large number of people armed with sticks and crude weapons defied curfew restrictions and indulged in arson and violence in several places between Baliguda and Udaygiri, he said.

Widespread violence also took place in Raikia area where two persons were critically injured in an attack by a mob, said Sahu, who has been camping in the communally-sensitive district.

The residence of former director general of police John Nayak was attacked by a mob at Raikia, he said adding that the administration has received information about a large number of families from Raikia taking shelter in forest areas.

A pregnant woman, whose husband works in Bhubaneswar, has also fled to forest along with some family members, her relatives said.

Though unconfirmed reports put the toll at 14, officials confirmed nine deaths in the violence after the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Laxmanananda Saraswati on Saturday night at Jalespeta in Tumudibandh.

With continued violence sparked by the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati claiming nine lives in Orissa, more forces were sought for deployment in the communally-sensitive Kandhamal district.

"Though tension prevails in Kandhamal, the situation is improving gradually. Security forces have been able to enter inaccessible areas by removing obstacles placed by miscreants," DIG R P Koche told PTI over phone.

Several roads including that connecting Raikia and Udaygiri have been cleared, facilitating speedy and smooth force movement, he said adding that the situation in towns and urban centres came under control, while remote and inaccessible areas still remained trouble-prone.

In a bid to further step up security, as many as 12 platoons of Orissa State Armed Police were being requisitioned for deployment in tension-hit areas, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (southern division) Satyabrata Sahu said.

As Kandhamal remained on the boil, curfew continued in all major towns of the district, while prohibitory orders under Section 144 were in force in the entire district, to prevent outside elements from entering the area, he said.

In order to review the situation in the tribal dominated district, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal is scheduled to visit Kandhamal shortly, sources said.

A large number of people from areas like Raikia, Rupagaon, Chakappada, Tikabali and Tumudibandh have fled and took shelter in forests, the sources said. 

As Rapid Action Force, the Central Reserve Police Force and the Orissa police force were deployed in all sensitive areas of Kandhamal, security personnel held flag marches in some places, sources said.

While four persons were killed in a bloody clash and exchange of fire between two groups at Barakhama on Tuesday, three others died in Raikia area after their houses were set afire around mid-night on Monday.

Another person was burnt to death at Rupagaon in Chakapada area during the 12-hour state-wide bandh called by saffron outfits on Monday.

As the protest against the gunning down of Saraswati and four others echoed, a young woman, identified as Rajani Majhi, was burnt to death at a missionary-run orphanage in Padampur area of Bargarh district, sources said.

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