BJP fears violence as tribal body prepares rally

Bhubaneswar/Phulbani: With a tribal body deciding to hold a rally on Christmas and observe bandh a day after, the BJP on Friday asked the state government to fulfill its commitments made to the community in the communally sensitive Kandhamal district.

The issue was raised by BJP member Karendra Majhi in the assembly during the zero hour. "One cannot rule out the possibility of a fresh violence in Kandhamal as the state government had not fulfilled promises made to the tribal people after the 2008 riots," said Majhi, an MLA from Baliguda assembly segment in Kandhamal district.

Alleging that the government had failed to verify fake caste certificates in the district, Majhi said that the agitating tribal people believed that people from other castes took advantage by securing fake tribal certificates. "They (tribals) feel that they are cheated by the people of other castes," Majhi said.

Stating that fake caste certificates and forcible tribal land encroachment by others were among the major reasons behind the previous riots in 2008 when 38 people were killed, Majhi said that the people "feel that their grievances" were not addressed despite the government`s assurance.

About 900 fake certificate cases were yet to be verified in Kandhamal district, Majhi pointed out adding that the government must immediately intervene in the matter before tribals under the aegis of Kui Samaj Samanwya Samiti (KSSS), an apex body of local Kui tribe, hold rally or observe bandh.

The district had a previous record of communal clash on December 25, 2007, Majhi pointed out. Meanwhile, after a series of discussion with the district administration, the KSSS changed its plan and confined its proposed four day bandh to only one day on December 26.

However, the tribal body announced to hold a rally at the district headquarter town of Phulbani on Christmas Day.

The district administration, however, has assured the minority communities that should celebrate Christmas without any fear.

Director General of Police (DGP) Manmohan Praharaj accompanied by other senior police officers rushed to Kandhamal and held a closed door meeting with the district Collector and Superintendent of Police.

"We are taking all possible steps to ensure a peaceful Christmas celebration in Kandhamal and in other parts of the state," the DGP said.