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558 houses, 17 prayer houses torched in violence, says Orissa government

Source: PTI
September 01, 2008 16:00 IST
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Claiming that the situation in Kandhamal was well under control, theĀ Orissa government on Monday said at least 558 houses and 17 places of worship were burnt in the communal riots after Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati's killing on August 23.

While 543 houses were burnt in the worst hit Kandhamal district, 15 houses had been set ablaze in Gajapati district, said Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy after a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

All the torching of places of worship were reported from Kandhamal district where over 185 people were arrested on charges of rioting and arson. A total of 35 people were injured in the riot in Kandhamal, Tripathy said.

Though Tripathy did not mention how may were killed during the riot, official sources put the figure at 16 on Monday, with the recovery of two bodies in Kandhamal district. Besides Kandhamal, Tripathy said, people were provided with food in free kitchen in Rayagada and Gajapati districts.

While 12,539 people were fed in 10 relief camps, 783 people got the facilities in two relief camps in Rayagada district. Tripathy said relief camps were located at Chakapada, Raikia, Baliguda, K Nuagaon, Tikabali, Phiringia, Phlbani, Tumudibandha and Daringbadi blocks in Kandhamal district.

Director general of police Gopal Nanda said besides 12 companies of para-military forces, 24 platoons of the Orissa State Armed Police, two sections of Armed Police Reserve force and two teams of the Special Operation Group were deployed in Kandhamal.
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