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Kandhamal : Tight security for Christmas as ‘bandh’ call draws flak

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Dec 24 :

Security has been tightened in an around churches across Kandhamal on the eve of Christmas in view of the bandh call given by the Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti ( KSSS ) on Deecmebr 25, sources said.

The KSSS bandh call has drawn flak from several quarters including the Odisha Maobadi Party led by Sabyasachi Panda.

Condemning the bandh call of tribal organisation Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity (KSSS) in Kandhamal on December 25, OMP leader Sabyasachi in an audio release today asked the tribal outfit to refrain from the Bandh call, and prevent undue trouble because it  will spark communal tension in the region.

File pic
File pic

“The region has already witnessed riots during the BJP-BJD rule in December 2007 and once again in August 2008 resulting in blood bath and loss of life and property. A bandh call in Brahmanigaon had triggered a riot in  December 2007,” he said.

“The government, BJP and the KSSS  will be held responsible if anything goes wrong during this year’s Christmas,” Sabyasachi warned.

He urged the democratic forces to put pressure on the government and ensure peace in Kandhamal.

Several Christian and civil society leaders have also appealed to KSSS leaders including Lambodar Kanhar not to go for a bandh on December 25.

It may be noted that in the past few years KSSS has been giving bandh call on the day of Christmas and withdrawing it at the last moment after ‘persuasion’ and ‘promises’ by the district administration and the police.

However, the district administration has failed to convince the KSSS this time as the KSSS leaders appear adamant on their decision to observe a bandh on the Christmas day.

KSSS leaders said, they have given the bandh call because the state government had, over the last 6 years, failed to meet their demands which include action against persons who have used fake caste certificates to get jobs and other benefits.

However, Kandhamal District Collector N Thirumala Nayak said, “The negotiation with KSSS members is continuing”.

According to sources, the administration has already deployed 40 platoons of security personnel across the communally sensitive district and and staged flag march by the police in Phulbani, G Udaygiri, Raikia, Tikabali, Baliguda and other places in its bid to instill confidence among the Christian population in Kandhamal.