As the situation in strife-torn Kandhamal improved with intensified patrolling, the authorities on Friday lifted the day curfew clamped in nine police station limits, but decided to continue with the night curfew for an indefinite period.
State Director General of Police M M Praharaj, who toured the troubled pockets of Kandhamal and held a high level review meeting with senior district officials, directed the police to take strong action against the rioters.
Meanwhile, a dispute among the tribals and the Panas (scheduled caste) in the neighbouring Boudh district took an ugly turn during the last couple of days following which several houses belonging to the Pana community were torched.
Revenue Divisional Commissioner Satya Brata Sahu clarified that the violence in Boudh was "purely an ethnic one and had no link with the communal violence reported in Kandhmal district."
At least two companies of Central Reserve Police Force and as many battalions of the Orissa Armed Police Force were rushed to Boudh after armed tribals set afire houses in Uma, Kanakutura, Matakupa, Gurukupa and Masinguda villages.
The police described the situation in these villages as tense, but well under control.
Sahu said with the deployment of ten more companies of the CRPF in Kandhamal, the situation had improved considerably with no untoward incidents reported from the district during the last 24 hours.
He said 45 companies of CRPF, three companies of Rapid Action Force and 26 platoons of the Orissa State Armed Police had been deployed in the district to contain further law and order problems.
The police have so far arrested 328 people, including some functionaries of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bajrang Dal, and detained over 100 people ever since the district witnessed riots, violence and communal tension in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples by unknown assailants on August 23.
The district authorities had asked the gun licence holders in the district to surrender their arms and ammunition last Wednesday, but later extended the deadline till today as only a few people responded to the order.
Official sources said about 900 gun licence holders had been registered in Kandhamal district and 500 of them were reported in the nine sensitive police limits witnessing arson and violence since the past one month.