Churches Burnt, Prayer Halls destroyed, More then 100 Houses Torched in Kandhamal, Orissa

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EFI News

September 25, 2008: Additional forces were deployed and curfew clamped in nine sensitive areas of Orissa's Kandhamal district on Thursday in the wake of fresh violence and arson in the region.

More then 100 houses and a couple of churches and prayer houses were either set afire or damaged in about half-a-dozen places under Daringibadi, G Udaygiri and Tikabali police stations in the early hours on Thursday and late Wednesday night, sources said.

Road blockades took place at around 42 places in Tikabali and G Udaygiri areas, making it virtually impossible for security forces to proceed.

Clashes broke out Wednesday night after police tried to prevent mobs from torching Christian homes.

In a bid to check further flare up, curfew was clamped in nine places of the district where 42 companies of security forces including CRPF and Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed.

About 30 houses and a church were burnt and damaged at Sikacheta village under Badapanga gram panchayat in Daringibadi area by an unruly mob, police said.

In a similar attack at Telenga village in G Udaygiri area, 20 houses were damaged, adding as many as 55 houses and a church were damaged at Beheragaon under Tikabali police station area.

A private bus was set ablaze at Himangia in Sankarakhol area last evening, sources said.

The situation turned worse as the telecommunication system virtually collapsed in the tribal dominated district since Tuesday.

Vital road links including the one between Berhampur and Phulbani were snapped due to blockade, while the process to clear the roads was delayed in view of unavailability of adequate personnel of Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF, sources said adding that many of them had been engaged in flood relief.

Trouble had erupted on Tuesday after a brief gap when a mob had attacked the police station and securitymen at Raikia demanding release of some tribals held on rioting charge.

EFI requests prayers for the protection and safety of Christians even when the police seems inadequate to contain the situation in riot hit Orissa and despite Governments assurance the communal flare up is still going strong.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations