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'Conversion Trigger for 2007 Kandhamal Riots'

Published: 26th December 2015 04:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2015 04:13 AM   |  A+A-

BHUBANESWAR:  Justice Basudev Panigrahi Commission, which probed into violence in Kandhamal district in December, 2007, has reportedly maintained that conversion was the main reason behind the disturbances between the two communities which left three persons dead and many injured.

The retired Justice, who submitted his report to the State government on November 28, 2015, has recommended coordination between leaders of different religions and administration to stop conversion. Besides, the Commission has recommended steps by the government to improve road communication, health and education facilities and launch schemes for ensuring livelihood of tribals.

Referring to the poor road conditions in the districts, the Commission maintained that police forces could have reached the places where violence occurred if the roads were in better condition. Besides, both the sides had blockaded roads by felling trees making it very difficult for the security forces to reach the troubled areas.

Without giving details about the recommendations made by him and reasons behind the clashes, retired Justice Panigrahi said that bickering and ill feelings between the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes existed for many years.

Houses of families belonging to both the communities were burnt on December 24, 2007 in Bramhanigaon village. When police rescued villagers of a particular community and brought them to police station, a mob of about 500 people opened fire at the police station and the police retaliated to disperse the crowd. In the clashes and firing that went on for more than an hour, at least three people were killed and three police officials injured.

Trouble escalated on Monday when some people attacked the vehicle of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati near Daringbadi when he was on his way to perform a yagna in Brahmanigaon. Dozens of churches and prayer houses were burnt, vehicles torched and houses of both Hindus and Christians attacked in the days that followed.



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