4-day Kondhamal bandh during Christmas

Bhubaneswar/Phulbani: With the Kui Samaj Samanwya Samiti (KSSS), an apex body of local Kui tribe giving a four day Kandhamal bandh call from Dec 23, opposition Congress today expressed concern over the development in the communally sensitive district.

"The state government must hold talks with the agitating tribal leaders and persuade the community not to observe a bandh during Christmas," Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh said raising the issue during zero hour in the assembly. Stating that a communal clash had taken place in Kandhamal during the Christmas festival in 2007, the Congress leader said "a slight mistake in handling the Kandhamal situation could prove costly."

Singh warned the state government to ensure that the peace is maintained in Kandhamal where a communal clash casued death of at least 38 people besides burning of thousands of houses belonging to the minority community and some churches in 2008. KSSS had given a four-day bandh call starting from tomorrow protesting the state government`s "failure" in solving their problems including cancellation of fake caste certificates, free of tribal land in posession of other castes and appointment of tribals in government jobs.

The district administration, however, has assured the minority communities to celebrate Christmas without any fear. While the KSSS leader Lambodar Kanhar claimed that the entire Kui community has been supporting the proposed bandh, a number of leaders belonging to the same tribe said they were against such an agitation during the festive season.