Kandhamal tense after fresh clashes

Updated on Sep 24, 2008 04:29 PM IST

Tension prevailed in Kandhamal district with curfew imposed in one town and additional forces unable to reach after mobs blocked roads, a day after one person was killed in police firing.

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IANS | By, Bhubaneswar

Tension reigned in Orissa's volatile Kandhamal district with curfew imposed in one town and additional forces unable to reach after mobs blocked roads on Wednesday, a day after one person was killed and 25 injured in police firing.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 people, mostly women, surrounded a police station in Raikia town, about 280 km from Bhubaneswar, demanding the release of two people who had been arrested the previous day on charges of rioting.

The mob pelted stones forcing police and troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to hit people with batons and then open fire, a police official said. One person was killed and 25 people, including many policemen, were injured.

The ripples continued till Wednesday as authorities tried to send more forces to the area but could not.

"After the incident, mobs have blocked roads at several places by placing huge wooden logs. This has made it impossible for the force to reach the areas," said a district police control room official.

Kandhamal district has been witnessing communal violence since Aug 23 when Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four others were shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his Jalespata Ashram.

Thousands of people have been rendered homeless since, many churches attacked and at least 25 people, mostly Christians, killed.

Prohibitory orders are still in force in the district and night curfew is imposed in most towns.

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