More violence in Orissa as mob kills cop, torches station

September 16th, 2008 - 12:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 16 (IANS) Fresh violence has broken out in Orissa’s troubled Kandhamal district with a policeman killed as an armed mob of about 500 torched a police station and set fire to several vehicles, officials said Tuesday.The violence in Gochapada area Monday night comes two days after security forces fired at a crowd in Krutamgarh, about 100 km away, to prevent them from attacking Christian residents, officials said. Three people were killed Saturday night though some reports said the death toll from the police firing was six.

On Monday night, the ire seemed to spill over to the police personnel in Gochapada with crowds carrying guns, swords and sticks ransacking the police station.

“One police station at Gochapada was burnt down by a mob of about 500. One policeman was shot dead,” District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS.

The mob also torched several vehicles, including a police jeep and a motorcycle, he said.

With the death of the police personnel in Gochapada, the number of people killed since the Aug 23 murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati has gone up to 25.

The murder of the VHP leader by unidentified gunmen in his Jalespata Ashram in Kandhamal district triggered communal clashes in which several churches were attacked, thousands rendered homeless and 25 killed.

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

Orissa is not new to communal violence between Hindus and Christians.

On Jan 22, 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, 10-year-old Philip and six-year-old Timothy, were burnt alive by a Hindu mob in their vehicle in Keonjhar district.

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