Kandhamal bandh called off

Kui Samaj Samanway Samiti, a body of local tribals, withdrew the bandh call it had given for the Christmas day in communally sensitive Kandhamal district of Odisha.

PTI| Updated: Dec 24, 2013, 23:10 PM IST

Phulbani: Kui Samaj Samanway Samiti (KSSS), a body of local tribals, on Tuesday night withdrew the bandh call it had given for the Christmas day on Wednesday in communally sensitive Kandhamal district of Odisha.

"We have decided to withdraw the 24-hour bandh call following discussion with senior officials of the district administration on long standing demands of tribals," said KSSS secretary Lambodar Kanhar.

Kanhar said some of the demands were sorted out but the state has been dithering on important demands including arrest of the killers of Khageswar Mallik who was killed in an alleged attack by a particular community at Barkhama in December 2007.

Though the shutdown plan was withdrawn, a `Shahid Divas` would be observed in Barkhama where Khageswar Mallik had been killed, he said.
KSSS has also been demanding identification and dismissal of all the persons who occupy government jobs on the basis of fake caste certificates and restoration of tribals` rights over land grabbed by non-tribals.

Meanwhile, sources said the administration had deployed security personnel in strength in every nook and corner of the communally sensitive district besides policemen staging flag marches at Phulbani, G Udaygiri, Raikia, Tikabali, Baliguda and other places.

Personnel belonging to CRPF, OSAP (Odisha Special Armed Police), SPO (special police officers), APR (armed police reserve) and general police have been deployed at sensitive locations in the district and certain identified churches here, a senior police officer said adding that even security personnel would be present in lanes and streets dominated by the minority community.
"The police is alert to face any eventuality. We will ensure a free and fearless Christmas tomorrow," Kandhamal SP KV Singh told reporters.