Information about some incidents were received from some remote places of Tikabali, G Udaygiri and other, District Collector Krishan Kumar said.
“Though tension prevails, the situation has been brought under control in 6/7 out of the 12 blocks of the district,” he said adding shoot-at-sight order and curfew remained in force in eight blocks as part of efforts to restore normalcy.
Deputy Inspector General of Police R P Koche said there has been ‘substantial improvement’ in the situation though some violence was reported from Kotgad area and “We are gathering details about the incident.” Some additional central forces have arrived in troubled areas while more were expected soon, he said.
The BJD-BJP government headed by Naveen Patnaik has come under sharp attack from different quarters with all major political parties including Congress, demanding his resignation, following the killing of Saraswati on the night of August 23 and unabated violence since then.
The government has also been indicted by the Centre with Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal voicing displeasure over steps taken to contain violence.
Violence spread to areas outside Kandhamal too with some incidents reported from Sundergarh, Rayagada, Gajapati and Bolangir districts.
Though officials confirmed ten deaths in the state due to the violence, unofficial sources put the toll at 15. Prominent Christian organisations and leaders claimed that at least 13 persons, including one in Bargarh district, were killed in the violence.
As Kandhamal was on the boil, shoot-at-sight was ordered on Wednesday in places like Phulbani, Baliguda, Tumudibandh, Raikia, Nuagaon, G Udaygiri, Tikabali and Sankarakhol, a senior official said, adding anyone found indulging in arson and rioting would be shot.
Raikia, which remained virtually unaffected during the communal riots in December last year, was hit this time where large scale violence took place and two persons were critically injured in mob attack, said a senior official, who has been camping in the district.
Kandhamal remained a ‘no entry zone’ to prevent outside and unwanted elements from entering the district, he said adding that all entry points were sealed, while prohibitory orders under Section 144 were in force in entire district.
Alarmed at escalating violence, Christian leaders demanded a CBI probe into the entire chain of events since the killing of Saraswati for establishing truth, arrest of culprits and trial by a special court, rehabilitation of riot-hit people and immediate measures by the Centre and state government to end violence.
Angry over the killing of Saraswati and handling of the subsequent incidents, several BJP MLAs and ministers wanted withdrawal of their party from coalition government in Orissa. However, party leadership asked them not to destabilise the government which is trying to restore normalcy in Kandhamal.
NE Christians condemn Orissa violence, seeks PM’s intervention
Shillong: Expressing concern over the “atrocities” committed on Christians in Orissa after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, the North East India Christian Council, apex body of Christian churches in the region, has sought intervention of the President and Prime Minister.
In a statement issued here, NEICC secretary Rev N Sandiwell Phawa urged the Centre and the Orissa government to take steps to defuse the situation through “confidence building measures”.
He also appealed to all Christians in Meghalaya and the Northeast to make August 31 as a day of special prayer for return of peace and normalcy in Orissa.
Reverend Phawa said that the National Christian Council of India, Catholic Bishop Conference of India and Evangelical Fellowship of India had jointly sent messages to the President and Prime Minister seeking their intervention in the crisis.
In another development, an emergency meeting convened by the Catholic Association (Khasi and Jaintia, Shillong) on Wednesday, endorsed the decision of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) to shut down all educational institutions run by the Catholic Church falling under the Shillong Archdiocese on Friday to express solidarity with Christians.
It also decided to observe a day of prayer and fasting on September seven and a peace rally on September eight.