Ban on gathering of four or more people lifted in Kandhamal

October 23rd, 2008 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 (IANS) Orders banning the gathering of four or more people have been lifted from all areas of Orissa’s Kandhamal district, where at least 37 people died in violence following the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, an official said Thursday.“The situation is becoming normal and we lifted the prohibitory orders from all areas of the district with effect from Wednesday night,” S. Praveen Kumar, district superintendent of police, told IANS over phone.

“Except few minor incidents, there was no major violence since past over three weeks,” he said.

“The night curfew is in force in five places and now we are reviewing. They may also be lifted soon,” he added.

Kandhamal district has seen large-scale communal violence, mostly attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda and four of his aides Aug 23.

Though Maoist rebels have claimed responsibility for the killings, radical Hindu groups hold Christians responsible for the crime.

At least 37 people have died in the violence that has left more than 20,000 people homeless. The relief camp, which housed over 23,000 people last month, now has about 12,000 people.

A large number of people returned home and the administration is trying to build confidence among them by taking several initiatives, a district administration official said.

“We distributed Rs.10,000 each to at least 400 of the riot victims as the first instalment of compensation,” he said.

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