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‘Normal’, but curfew on

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 3: The government today said the situation had “normalised” in the strife-torn Khandhamal, barring a couple of areas.

Talking to reporters in the evening, state’s chief secretary Ajit Tripathy said normalcy had been restored in the district and tension had subsided, except in Brahmanigaon and Barkhama, where stiff clashes had taken place last week.

No major communal incidents were reported since December 27, he said, adding that all the communities were living in harmony.

After the strife, closed markets, schools and colleges have opened and vehicles have started plying regularly, said Tripathy.

Talking to news persons today, revenue divisional commissioner (central division) S.C. Mohapatra, who returned from the district today, said curfew has not been raised from certain areas as Kandhamal continued to be a sensitive area. “Though the situation is normal now, mischief makers could incite communal violence,” he said. Therefore, he added, curfew was in force more as a “precautionary measure” than for anything else. Home secretary T.K. Mishra added that the state has requested the Centre for more paramilitary forces to be deployed in the area till January 7.

Giving details of the actions taken against culprits involved in the incidents, Mishra said 93 persons had been arrested so far and 60 criminal cases have been registered. Detailing the relief and rehabilitation measures, the chief secretary said 3,306 people has been provided shelter in camps in Barakhama and Brahmanigaon. Adequate polythene sheets, blankets and utensils has been provided to them. The forest department had been asked to provide bamboo and timber to those whose houses had been burnt or damaged.

The chief minister today sanctioned (approximately) Rs 30 lakh from the chief minister’s relief fund. He had earlier released Rs 40 lakh from the fund.

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