Mental shift

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Orissa victims tell Naveen: Go back

Posted by jytmkh on September 1, 2008

Chief minister rejects demand for CBI probe, faces victims’ wrath


BHUBANESHWAR; Chief minister Naveen Patnaik was at the receiving end when he visited trouble-torn Tikabali on Saturday evening. Angered with the Orissa government’s failure to tackle communal riots in the wake of the  brutal murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, around 500 riot victims gheraoed the CM at Tikabali relief centre and chanted “Naveen, go back. We don’t want government help.”

Patnaik, who reached Kandhamal by road on Saturday, found the riot victims waiting for him since morning, agitated and in no mood to listen. “Please go back. When we needed your help, you were not here,” said Rupa Digal, a riot-affected person.

However, Patnaik announced that victims would get all help including cooking gas, utensils and other assistance to rebuild their homes.

On Sunday morning, the CM visited Jalespata Ashram where Swami Laxmanananda and four of his associates had been killed. He assured the inmates of the ashram the culprits would be arrested soon. However, he rejected demands for a CBI probe into this incident.

“We have already ordered a judicial probe,” he said. Later, on his return to Bhubaneswar from Kandhamal on Sunday, Patnaik appealed for restoration of peace.
But the communal flare-up has now crossed the borders of Kandhamal district. On Saturday, violence broke out in tribal-dominated Koraput district. On Sunday morning, people set ablaze four churches in Kunudura of Koraput. Police clamped curfew in Jeypure and held flag marches in sensitive pockets of Koraput district.

“We are making all efforts to create peace committees at the ward level,” said Koraput district collector, Balakrushna Sahu, adding that one company each of the CRPF and the Orissa State Armed Police  were deployed in the areas. All schools and colleges will remain closed for three days from September 1 to 3 in Koraput.

And with the recovery of three more bodies under Raikia police station in Kandhamal, the death toll has touched 15.

One week after the beginning of the violence in Orissa, thousands of people, most of them Christians, were still hiding in the forests or have found refuge in shelter camps.
The ABVP has called for an Orissa bandh on Monday. “All schools and college will remain closed on Monday,” an ABVP spokesperson said. (DNA India)


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