Security tightened in Orissa for peaceful Christmas

December 24th, 2010 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 24 (IANS) Security was beefed up around the leading churches in Orissa Friday to ensure peaceful Christmas celebrations, officials said.Hundreds of policemen have been deployed especially around churches in Kandhamal district, which witnessed communal violence during the Christmas celebrations in 2007, a senior state home department official told IANS.

He said security personnel have also been deployed at various churches in Sambalpur, Sundergarh and Cuttack districts.

“Policemen have been deployed around all sensitive places across the state. Besides, collectors of all the districts have been asked to stay alert,” he said.

Kandhamal, about 200 km from here, witnessed communal violence for over 10 days after some miscreants attacked Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in 2007.

The district again hit the headlines after Maoists killed Saraswati and four of his disciples in 2008.

The killings triggered widespread violence in the region, forcing thousands of Christians to flee their homes after they were attacked by mobs who held them responsible for the murders.

“Police patrolling has been intensified across the district. Forces have been deployed around the churches,” Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar told IANS.

He said that the vehicles were also being checked at all entry and exit points of the district.

District collector Krishan Kumar said peace committees have been formed at the grassroots level to maintain peace during the celebrations.

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