Bhubaneswar: People in Orissa`s Kandhamal
celebrated Christmas with joy and enthusiasm amid elaborate
security arrangements, shedding fears of riots that had rocked
the communally sensitive district in 2007 and 2008.
After performing mid-night mass at different churches
in the tribal-dominated district, Christians thronged their
places of worship in colourful attires this morning as people
belonging to all communities joined the celebrations showing a
spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood.
The celebrations remained peaceful and churches and
prayer halls were decorated tastefully as elaborate security
arrangements were made to prevent any untoward incident.
Security personnel have been deployed in strength at
places of worship, prayer halls and Christian-inhabited
areas, while streets were being patrolled, Superintendent of
Police S Praveen Kumar said.
Steps were taken for thorough checking at all entry
points to the district to prevent mischief mongers from
entering, he said.
"Strict vigil is being maintained across the district
which witnessed communal violence during Christmas in December
2007 and after the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda
Saraswati in August 2008," police said.
Meanwhile, in a major relief for the administration,
the Kui Samaj Seva Samiti (KSSS) dropped its plan to hold
processions on the day following persuasion by officials as
it might have created tension among religious and ethnic
communities during the festival.
KSSS had planned a procession and a public meeting
here to observe `Saheed Divas` marking the third death
anniversary of the death of a tribal in the riots at Barkhama
village in Baliguda block.
The tribal outfit agreed to hold only a symbolic
meeting at its office in Barkhama.