One dead, several injured in fresh violence in Orissa (Lead)

September 30th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 30 (IANS) One woman was killed and more than a dozen people were injured in fresh violence Tuesday in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, where clashes between Hindus and Christians have claimed at least 30 lives in the past month. A mob set fire to Christian homes and a church in Rudangia village under Udauagiri police station. The two sides then clashed with each other using country made guns and other weapons. Police were forced to open fire to disperse the mob.

Forty-year-old Rukmini Nayak was killed in the violence and over a dozen people were injured, Inspector General of Police Pradeep Kapur told IANS.

The region has been witnessing communal violence since Aug 23, when Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides were shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his Jalespata Ashram.

The VHP accused Christians of the murders, a charge strongly denied by Christian organisations.

Since then, thousands of people have been rendered homeless, many churches attacked and at least 30 people, mostly Christians, killed in the state.

Prohibitory orders are still in force in the district and night curfew is imposed in most towns.

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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