Pawar-led team in Orissa, to visit violence-hit region

November 17th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 17 (IANS) A three-member central delegation led by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Monday arrived here to take stock of the situation after communal clashes in Kandhamal region of Orissa in recent months, officials said.Pawar, Tribal Affairs Minister P.R. Kyndiah and Social Justice Minister Meira Kumar met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the state secretariat and discussed with him and state officials measures taken by the state government in the area.

The team will Tuesday visit Kandhamal district that saw large-scale attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda and four of his aides.

Though Maoist rebels have claimed responsibility for the killings, radical Hindus hold Christians responsible.

At least, 38 people have been killed in the violence that has left more than 20,000 people homeless. Around 10,000 people are still living in relief camps.

The three ministers, accompanied by eight officials, are expected to discuss with the Orissa government a rehabilitation plan for the thousands who fled their homes, a state official told IANS.

The delegation will hold talks with the Kandhamal district collector and visit refugee camps in Pikabali, Raikia and Nuagaon, before leaving for Bhubaneswar Wednesday, the official said.

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