Christmas festivities are in full swing in Kandhamal district under the cover of tight security.
The Kandhamal district administration and the police have decided to take strict legal action against any person trying to hamper communal harmony during the Christmas celebrations in the district. Although the tribal organisation Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity (KSSS) has not backed out from its bandh call in the district till Tuesday afternoon, the police and administration are hopeful that it would not hamper the Christmas celebrations in any way.
Speaking to The Hindu , on Tuesday evening, leader of the KSSS Lambodar Kanhar said their discussions with the Kandhamal Collector N.Tirumala Nayak had not brought in any result and they had decided to stand by their bandh call on Wednesday. Apart from it they would also hold a memorial meeting at Barkhama near Baliguda on Christmas to observe death anniversary of a tribal killed during riots at that place on December 25, 2007.
This bandh call has not evoked any response from people of Kandhamal district especially, the Christian community. Festivities and preparations for joyful celebration of Christmas are on at every church of the district. All Christian dominated areas and churches in the district have been decorated .
As there are chances that some miscreants may try to disrupt normal life by felling trees and using boulders to block roads on Wednesday during Christmas celebrations, the police have geared up for it. “We have kept three teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) ready for the purpose so that in case of any attempt to disrupt normal traffic is made, the roads can be cleared immediately,” said the Kandhamal Superintendent of Police (SP) Kanwar Vishal Singh.
Forty platoons of police force have been put on duty. They are led by 137 police officers and are being monitored by seven Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP) and one Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP). Two Quick Action Teams (QAT) of security forces are also ready and stationed at different strategic locations of the district to help in case of emergency law and order situations. All roads leading to communally volatile areas in the district are under strict vigil of police. The police are checking all vehicles travelling in those areas.
Though Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity has called for bandh, the police are hopeful that Christmas celebrations will not be hampered in any way.