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Secular BJD blames 'failures'

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |   Bhubaneshwar   |   Published 21.01.08, 12:00 AM

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 21: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today admitted that the district administration had “partially failed” to handle the ethnic and communal tension in and around Khandhamal.

Talking to reporters here today, senior BJD leader and former minister Jayaram Pangi and other party leaders, who were on a fact-finding mission to Khandhamal, said the former collectors and superintendents of police were transferred because they had failed to handle the situation.

However, they parried questions as to who, they thought, were “responsible” for the religious conflict and communal strife in Khandhamal, on the plea that it would “affect the judicial probe”.

Pangi claimed that the situation in Khandhamal had normalised and the relief and rehabilitation activities going on were satisfactory.

“We have visited all the affected areas and met all sections. Nobody did complain about the relief and rehabilitation measures,” he said.

Repeatedly claiming that BJD was a secular party, the members of the fact-finding team said BJD as a party was committed to the development of all communities — irrespective of their faith.

They reminded the gathered media as to how the chief minister and BJD chief, Naveen Patnaik, had visited the troubled district thrice and had met most of the “affected people belonging to all communities”.

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