Orissa: Forty more arrests in Kandhamal
- Bhubaneswar: Police Monday arrested about 40 more people in Orissa's Kandhamal district, where communal violence has claimed 35 lives and left thousands homeless over the past five weeks - and officials said the violence is on the wane.
"The total number of people arrested for their involvement directly or indirectly in the violence would be around 1,000 over the past month" a senior official of the state home department said.
Of them, 500 people have been arrested in Kandhamal district alone.
Many of those arrested are linked to Hindu organizations like the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parisad (VHP). Some of them are also members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the official said.
Kandhamal district has witnessed communal violence since Aug 23 since the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others by unidentified gunmen in Jalespata Ashram.
Police said they suspected the Maoists to be involved in the murder. However, Hindus in the region blamed Christians for the killing and went on a rampage against the community.
At least 35 people, mostly Christians, were killed and thousands of homes burnt during the violence.
More than 15,000 people, mainly Christians, have taken shelter in relief camps after their houses were torched by rampaging Hindu mobs.
"The situation is under control. No violence has been reported from any part of the district in the past three days," Kandhamal police chief S. Praveen Kumar said.