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Christmas to be low a key affair in Kandhamal
BHUBANESWAR, DEC 22 (IANS):
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Published on 23 Dec. 2008 1:35 AM IST
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Christmas celebration this year may be a low-key affair in the forested Kandhamal district where communal violence killed at least 38 people in recent months, officials and Christians leaders said Monday. “We have told people to perform midnight mass as per their convenience. Some churches are located in remote forested and hilly areas,” Swarupananda Patra, general secretary of the All Orissa Baptist Churches Federation, told IANS. “It may not be safe for some people to return home after performing midmight mass at those churches,” he said, adding: “We have also advised people to perform midnight mass at relief camps.” The federation runs around 3,440 churches in Orissa and of them 1,000 are in Kandhamal district alone. Fearing communal violence during Christmas celebrations, authorities in Kandhamal district have sought more security forces from the state government. “We may have violence. We have sought three companies of the Rapid Action Forces (RAF) and two units of the ODRAF (Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force),” District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS. Around 4,000 policemen and security personnel have been deployed after Kandhamal witnessed widespread communal violence in August and September following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.

 
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