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Flare-up in Orissa
Police officers stand guard in front of a church in Orissa. (AP)

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 26: Eleven persons were today injured in stone-pelting and 10 houses set ablaze in south Orissa’s Kondhmal in a spillover of the Christmas clashes and church burnings in the district.

The violence erupted just outside last night’s flashpoint town of Barakhamba, where four houses were torched this afternoon. The stone-pelting took place in nearby Jaleshpata, where six houses were set on fire.

On Christmas, a man Ś identified today as Khage Mallick of Barakhamba Ś was killed and over a dozen churches burned after one community tried to stop another from celebrating the festival in a big way.

Police said the situation had been brought under control very fast this afternoon. Curfew, clamped in four towns of Kondhmal last night, was relaxed for a few hours in the evening.

Central paramilitary forces were moved into the district from Rayagada, Sambalpur and Rourkela. About 20 police officers were also sent there.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the situation at a top-level meeting and again appealed to the people to maintain communal harmony. DGP G.C. Nanda said the situation was improving.

The movement of security personnel into the trouble zone was slow as trees had been felled and roads blocked. Two senior IAS officers and the SPs of neighbouring Boudh and Gajapati districts have been sent to Kondhmal.

The Orissa unit of the All-India Christian Council alleged the state government had not taken the church burnings seriously or adequately stepped up security.

“The government does not seem to have taken the matter seriously. The slackness on the part of the administration is evident,” a church council official said.

The Christian leaders and the Hindu Jagaran Samukhya accused each other for the clashes. The HJS alleged temples at Jalespata, Baliguda and Tumudibandha had been vandalised by the minority community.

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