The communal violence in Kandhmal in the aftermath of the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples, has so far claimed 26 lives, Orissa Home Secretary Tarun Kanti Mishra said in Bhubhaneshwar on Monday.
Briefing newsmen Mishra said two more bodies were recovered in Kirtunguda Panchayat area under Tumudibabdha police station of Kandhamal district taking the toll in the police firing to four.
An armed mob clashed with the Central Reserve Police Force when the latter tried to prevent them from attacking a prayer house, a hospital and the residence of a local sarpanch on September 13.
The CRPF had to open fire as the mob pelted them with stones. A bullet from the mob hit a jawan.While two persons were killed on the spot, bodies of two more killed in the firing,were recovered from the village on Sunday.
Giving a break up of the total casualties, Mishra said 24 people were killed in the communal clash in Kandhamal,one each died in Bargarha and Gajapati.