Solemn festivities mark Christmas for riot hit Orissa

December 26th, 2008 - 4:11 pm ICT by ANI  

By Sarda Lahangir
Kandhamal (Orissa), Dec 26 (ANI): Somber celebrations marked Christmas for Christians living in the shadow of communal violence that rocked their lives earlier this year in Kandhamal district of Orissa.
Leading a life of discomfort in refugee camps, they, unlike in the past, observed the festival in a low key.
Instead of decorations and fanfare, high police presence in and around their camps deployed for ensuring security was manifest in the area this year.
Unlike previous years Christmases, it was a normal day for the victims as they went about their routine in the area.
“We were very happy earlier and celebrated Christmas with great fanfare. We used to wear new dresses, make goodies like cakes and sweets. But now we can”t do anything because we are in the camp and we had celebrated Christmas in a very simply way this time,” said Sunita Diggal, a refugee.
Christmas celebrations are on the whole subdued in India this year in wake of terror attacks in Mumbai but for these victims, the reason is completely different as they still live in fear after the nightmarish communal violence.
Violence in Kandhamal erupted after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates were killed under mysterious circumstances. Hindus blamed the attack on Christians. (ANI)

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