Tribal organisation Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity (KSSS) has once again called a bandh on December 25 in Kandhamal district in Odisha, while the district administration and police are making efforts to ensure peace and harmony during Christmas in this communally volatile-region.
Speaking to The Hindu on Monday, KSSS president Lambodar Kanhar has alleged that the government and the administration have not fulfilled their long-standing demands. These include strict action against those who have used fake caste certificates to get appointments and other government benefits. The KSSS also plans to hold memorial meetings in different parts of the district to observe death anniversary of a tribal killed during riots at Barkhama near Baliguda on December 25, 2007.
For the past few years, KSSS has been calling a bandh during Christmas time to show its strength and presence in the Kandhamal district. However, it had always withdrawn the bandh call at the last moment after persuasion by the district administration and police.
When contacted, Kandhamal District Collector Yamini Sarangi said on Monday administration has requested KSSS to refrain from observing bandh on Christmas day. She has also called up Samity leaders for talks on Tuesday.
The administration and police are keeping a close watch on activities of the KSSS.
The administration has already started the process to guarantee continuation of peace and harmony during Christmas celebrations. On December 15, a district level peace committee meeting was held in district headquarter, Phulbani. Similar peace committee meetings are being held at block and panchayat levels. “On December 22 and 23, a youth leadership programme would be held in Phulbani. Around 1,200 youths from different parts of Kandhamal district would participate in the programme with theme peace and harmony,” said Ms Sarangi.
She feels these youths would be key to keeping amity and peace in the district.
The district police are also alert and have stepped up security. Kandhamal Superintendent of Police Kunwar Vishal Singh said 25 platoons of Odisha police along with Special Operation Group and Central Reserve Police Force personnel have been deployed in different parts of the district. All entry points of the district are under strict vigil and vehicles are being checked to restrict entry of miscreants. Patrolling has been intensified and security has been enhanced at all identified sensitive points, he said.