Congress takes out peace rally in Orissa’s Kandhamal

October 19th, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Phulbani (Orissa), Oct 19 (IANS) Hundreds of Congress activists Sunday took out a massive rally in a town in Orissa’s Kandhamal district where at least 36 people were killed in communal violence and thousands of homes were torched, officials said.The activists marched in Baliguda town - one of the riot hit areas - holding party flags, placards and banners seeking peace in the region.

Among others, Union Minister Ajay Makan and state congress president Jayadev Jena were present.

The Congress, which is the main opposition party in the state, carried out a peace rally here last week.

The Kandhamal district, some 200 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, has been witnessing communal violence after the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his aides at his Jalespata Ashram Aug 23.

At least 36 people, mostly Christians, were killed and thousands of homes burnt in the district during the violence in the past weeks.

Over 20,000 people, mainly Christians, have taken shelter in private and government relief camps after their houses were torched by rampaging Hindu mobs.

Officials said curfew has been lifted Friday night in many parts of the region as normalcy is gradually returning.

On Saturday night, a man was critically injured after he was allegedly shot at in a village under Katingia police station.

“Whether it is linked to communal violence or not will be known after the return of the senior police officials who have gone to the spot,” District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS.

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