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More prayer houses attacked in Orissa

Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Violence was reported from more areas in Koraput district in southern Orissa on Sunday, even as the situation was limping back to normality in the riot-hit Kandhamal district.

Eight prayer houses were damaged in Kundra area of Koraput during the day, police said.

Violence erupted in the district following a clash between two groups in Jeypore town on Saturday and five churches were damaged. Curfew was clamped and it is still in force.

In Kandhamal, two groups of women victims clashed at a relief camp at Baliguda over distribution of relief material. More than 9,000 people have taken shelter in the seven relief camps opened in different areas of Kandhamal to help families affected by the violence triggered by the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda. The authorities were finding it difficult cope with the influx of people into the camps.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik faced an angry group of protesters when he visited a relief camp at Tikabali. The families affected by the riots raised slogans against Mr. Patnaik and asked him to go back.

Asked whether his government would hand over the case pertaining to the killing of the swami to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Patnaik replied in the negative. He expressed the hope that the State police would be able to arrest the culprits.

On the other hand, shortage of security personnel was also making it difficult for the administration to restore peace in the district. Curfew continues to remain in force in eight towns of the district.

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