500 paramilitary forces withdrawn from Orissa’s KandhamalMay 31st, 2009 - 12:32 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, May 31 (IANS) At least five companies of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), comprising about 500 personnel, were withdrawn Sunday from Orissa’s Kandhamal district that had witnessed communal violence last year, an official said.
An official of the state home department told IANS that the paramilitary troops would be replaced by an equal number of state police personnel.
At least 4,000 central security personnel were deployed in Kandhamal, about 200 km from here, in the aftermath of the communal violence that erupted following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides Aug 23 last year.
No violence has been reported from the region since October last year. The central government had directed the state government earlier this year to initiate withdrawal of the paramilitary forces in phases.
At least 3,000 personnel have been moved out of the region in phases over the past few months.
With the latest withdrawal, the number of CRPF personnel in the region has come down to 500. They will remain there till the end of June.
At least 38 people were killed and over 25,000 Christians forced to flee after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs in the aftermath of the attack on Saraswati. Nearly 2,500 people are still living in government relief camps.