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Christian man found murdered in Kandhamal
Published on 22 Feb. 2009 12:35 AM IST
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A 40-year-old Christian man has been found murdered in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, police said Saturday. At least 38 people, mostly Christians, were killed in the district in communal riots last year. Hrudananda Naik, a resident of Rudangia village, was found dead in a nearby forest Thursday. Police found injury marks on his head and near one of his ears. “Somebody may have hit him on the head, causing his death,” District Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar told IANS. “I am not sure if his death has anything to do with the communal violence. Our investigation is on,” he added. However, Prasanna Kumari Naik, mother of the victim, has submitted a written complaint to the police, alleging the hand of last year’s rioters in the murder. Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides Aug 23. While police blamed Maoists for the killings, some Hindu organisations held Christians responsible for the crime and launched attacks on the community. Christian groups have repeatedly denied any involvement in the murders of Laxmanananda and his aides. At least 38 people were killed and thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes in the district after being attacked by rampaging Hindu mobs. Officials say about 4,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

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