Kadhamal violence to rock Orissa assembly session


Bhubaneswar : The winter session of the Orissa assembly, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, is likely to be stormy with the opposition Congress party expected to question the government over the communal violence that claimed at least 38 lives and rendered thousands homeless in Kandhamal district.

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Political analysts said the opposition is expected to make several attempts to highlight the government’s failure during the winter session, which concludes Dec 31, since the general and assembly polls are likely to be held early next year.

Besides the communal violence that broke out in Kandhamal after the Aug 23 murder of Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides, Congress sources said they will also question the government’s mishandling of the recent flood that killed more than 60 people.

The Congress has also plans to grill the government over price rise, increase in Maoist violence, suicide by farmers due to crop failure, and starvation deaths.

“The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has failed in all areas. They have gifted the state lawlessness, poverty and communal violence,” Congress legislature Binod Patra told IANS.

“The government has failed to provide relief to the victims of the recent flood. Thousands of people are still living on embankments and on highways because the government failed to rebuild their houses,” he alleged.

BJD leader Damodar Rout claimed the central government led by the Congress had failed to provide any help to the state to tackle the floods and communal violence.

For chief minister Naveen Patnaik more trouble was likely from BJP – his alliance partner – than from the opposition congress party, a political analyst said.

Political analysts said the chief minister may also face lack of cooperation from the BJP. Many leaders of the party feel Saraswati was killed because the government did not provide him adequate security.

They are also unhappy over the denial of permission to some party leaders to visit Kandhamal.

“What is most frustrating is that the government is yet to nab Saraswati’s killers. Our legislatures will raise this issue,” BJP national vice president Jual Oram said.

At least 38 Christian were killed and thousands were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging Hindu mobs who accused members of the minority community of having killed Saraswati. More than 10,000 are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

The state government says the situation is still under tense in some area of the district.