Peaceful Christmas celebrations at Kandhamal
Kandhamal (Orissa): People in Orissa's Kandhamal celebrated Christmas with joy and enthusiasm amid elaborate security arrangements on Sunday, 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 area, 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 as elaborate
security arrangements were made to prevent any untoward
Security personnel were deployed in strength at places
of worship, prayer halls and Christian-inhabited areas, while
streets were being patrolled and anti-riot vehicles remained
in a state of preparedness to meet any eventuality, a senior
police official 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," he said.
Meanwhile, in a major relief for the administration,
Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti (KSSS) which had called a four-day
district bandh from yesterday has cut short its plan and
decided to observe only a day-long shut-down tomorrow.
The tribal outfit decided to cut short the bandh plan
after a meeting with senior officials who promised to fulfil
our demands, said a KSSS leader.
They have been demanding action against people
enjoying tribal benefits with the help of fake certificates.
KSSS had also planned a procession and public meeting