Bhubaneswar : About 300 people of riot-hit Kandhamal district in Orissa returned to their homes from relief camps during the last four days, an official Tuesday said.
“Around 300 people have returned to their respective villages. We are expecting rest of the victims to go back to their villages soon,” District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS by phone.
He said nearly 1,200 victims are still taking shelter in three government-run relief camps, even though no violence has been reported in the region since October last year.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year.
More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited Kandhamal June 26 and asked the victims to go back to their villages and lead a normal life. He assured them full government protection.
“I am sorry that certain things happened last year and you have been brought to these camps. But you must go back to your villages. I am here to tell you, don’t fear,” Chidambaram told victims during his visit to the relief camps.