Christmas celebrations pass off peacefully in Orissa

December 25th, 2010 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 25 (IANS) Christmas was celebrated peacefully across Orissa, including in communally sensitive Kandhamal district, as Hindus joined Christians in the festivities in several places.Churches, houses, hotels and market places were illuminated with decorative lights in several villages and towns including in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Sundergarh and Sambalpur.

People from all walks of life visited churches wearing new dresses, offered prayers and participated in special services on the eve. Many Hindus visited the houses of Christians and greeted them with ‘Merry Christmas’.

“No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state. The midnight mass and Christmas celebrations were peaceful,” Inspector General of police Arun Sarangi told IANS.

The celebration was also peaceful in Kandhamal district that witnessed communal violence for over ten days in 2007 after some miscreants attacked Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. The district had hit the headlines after Maoists killed Saraswati and four of his disciples on Aug 23, 2008.

The killing triggered widespread violence that led to the deaths of at least 38 people. Thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after they were attacked by mobs.

“People attended midnight mass without fear. Christmas was also celebrated with all religious fervour,” Kandhamal district collector Krishan Kumar told IANS. “People of Hindu community joined the Christians in the celebration in several places,” he said.

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