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80 houses torched, Patil to visit today

india Updated: Sep 03, 2008 01:52 IST
Aloke Tikku
Aloke Tikku
Hindustan Times
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As the situation in Orissa's riot-hit Kandhamal district continued to be volatile on Tuesday with at least 80 houses being torched in fresh violence, Home Minister Shivraj Patil is likely to announce compensation under a new central scheme for victims of Orissa's communal disturbances during his visit to the state on Wednesday.

Patil will be the first Central leader to visit Gajapati and Kandhamal districts of Orissa. His deputy at the home ministry, Sriprakash Jaiswal had last week gone to the state but had to return from the state capital after being advised against going to the interiors.

The home minister's visit comes in the backdrop of growing concern in Delhi over the continuing violence in the state.

At least 80 houses were torched on Tuesday in fresh arson in several villages of Tikabali and Sarangada areas since Monday noon despite considerable improvement in the situation that prompted authorities to suspend day curfew.

A new central scheme cleared by Patil enables the government to sanction Rs 3.5 lakh for next of kin of those who die in communal violence.

Cong team meets Prez

A delegation of the Congress party with leaders from Orissa along with Ajay Maken, party in-charge of the state on Tuesday met President Pratibha Patil. They accused the saffron cadre of hatching conspiracy against the (Christian) minorities since last Christmas.

“When the minority community reported the same to the district administration of Kandhamal at that time, no action was taken and consequently a large scale communal violence was carried unabated during that period,” alleged Maken.