Prafulla Das

PHULBANI: Violence erupted in Orissa’s Kandhamal district once again when hundreds of people attacked three villages in the G. Udaygiri Block in the early hours of Tuesday.

At least two persons, including a woman, were killed and more than a dozen injured. About 300 houses were burnt down.

Ten persons were arrested from the three villages. In Bhuabneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said those involved in the attacks would be severely punished.

The affected villages, Rudangia, Telingia and Gadaguda, have a sizeable Christian population. A prayer house was also damaged at Rudangia. Some residents of Rudangia retaliated, but to no avail. Both sides used country-made guns, police said. The residents of the village fled to a nearby forest to escape the mob. They returned only after additional forces reached the village.

According to the locals, policemen present during the attack at Rudangia failed to control the mob. They said one person was killed when the policemen “fired in the air” to bring the situation under control.

Ramani Nayak of Rudangia was hacked to death. Her husband and two daughters, however, managed to escape.

On the death in police firing, District Collector Krishan Kumar said: “It may have happened, but the body was not found till the evening.”

Nine of the injured, including three women and a child, were taken to the MKCG Medical College Hospital at Berhampur.

Curfew continues

This was the first time that violence had struck the three villages since riots broke out in the district last month.

Night curfew continues in several towns, including G. Udaygiri and the district headquarters town of Phulbani. The administration held a district level peace committee meeting on Monday.

Representatives of all communities, castes and tribes and office-bearers of voluntary organisations participated. The meeting decided to hold a district level peace rally on Gandhi Jayanti day.

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