The strife-torn Kandhamal district in south Orissa erupted once again early on Thursday, with groups of people attacking Christian prayer halls and houses in the predominantly tribal area.
Two churches and nearly 70 houses were torched in Tikabali and Raikia areas of the district in the pre-dawn attacks, police said.
<b1>After the fresh violence, New Delhi sent a fresh and stern directive to the state government headed by Naveen Patnaik to control the situation. The chief minister later said: “Every effort is being made to maintain peace in the area.”
The Centre asked the BJD government, which is supported by the BJP, to take “effective, focused and firm measures to stop the violence”.
The repeated incidents of violence “indicate that anti-social elements continue to be active”. Raikia, the epicentre of the fresh violence, has been placed under 24-hour curfew. Night curfew has been clamped in eight other places.
A total 139 prayer halls have been damaged and 28 killed in violence that broke out in Orissa after VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati was gunned down on August 24.