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Communal clash on Xmas eve

The situation took a worse turn when a Hindu religious leader was attacked by some Christian members, reports Soumyajit Pattnaik.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2007 14:34 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

A violent clash took place on Monday between members of two communities at Brahmanigaon town of Kandhamal district, nearly 400 km from the state capital allegedly over Christmas celebrations. Ten people belonging to both the groups were injured.

The situation took a turn for the worse later in the day when an important Hindu religious leader Laxmanananda Saraswati was attacked allegedly by some Christian members while he was on his way to visit the troubled spot.

The Viswa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and other outfits belonging to the Sangh Parivar have called for Orissa bandh on Tuesday to protest against the attack on Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

The police at the Bramnaigaon police station told Hindustan Times that trouble began in the morning when some Hindu groups suddenly started demolishing the gates erected to celebrate Christmas. Christian groups in the town then resisted the attackers.

Satyabrata Sahu, divisional commissioner of southern range, told Hindustan Times, “I’m rushing to the spot along with the DIG. Till Sunday, we were in Kandhamal district and had held talks with community leaders from both sides to maintain peace.”

Nearly 18 per cent of the population in Kandhamal district belongs to the Christian community and Christians have been attacked in this area in the past. On August 26, 2004, a church in Raikia town in the same Kandhamal district was
attacked.