Death toll in Orissa religious violence rises to 24

September 15th, 2008 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 15 (IANS) The death toll in religious violence in Orissa has gone up to 24 with security forces recovering one more body in Kandhamal district, the police said Monday.The dead body was recovered from Krutamgarh village in Kandhamal district where security forces fired at a mob Saturday evening to prevent them from attacking Christian residents.

The police had initially said that two persons were killed in the firing.

With the recovery of one more body, officials Monday said the number of persons killed in police firing is three.

“With the latest deaths the number of persons killed in communal clashes in the state since Aug 23 has gone up to 24,” state inspector general of police Pradeep Kapur told IANS.

Communal violence erupted in Kandhamal after Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, a central advisory committee member of the Vishwa Hindu Parisad (VHP), and four others were shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his Jalespata Ashram in Kandhamal district.

Police suspect Maoist rebels killed them but some Hindu groups blamed Christians for the murder and went on the rampage. Christian groups have repeatedly denied the allegation.

Since the evening of Aug 23, the state has witnessed communal violence in which thousands have been rendered homeless.

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