CRPF man injures tribal leader

PHULBANI, Dec 23: Even as the state and district administration was engaged in stepping up security for Christmas and holding peace committee meetings, thousands of agitated tribals surrounded a CRPF camp at Rudangia village today.

There was considerable tension in Rudangia within G Udayagiri police station limits today following an altercation between a CRPF jawan and a tribal leader Mr Netramani Pradhan.

Mr Pradhan was allegedly assaulted by the jawan and this enraged tribals of nearby villages who stormed the CRPF camp demanding immediate withdrawal of the security forces from the area.
Thousands of tribals including women of Pikaradi, Badimunda and Gadaguda gram panchayats virtually laid siege to the camp for several hours. Mr Pradhan who was on way to attend the district level peace committee meeting at Phulbani was shifted to G Udayagiri hospital.
Reliable sources said that Mr Pradhan a village leader of Bondaguda had a heated exchange with one of the CRPF men while he was on the way to Phulbani. The wordy duel turned ugly resulting in injuries to the tribal leader.
District collector Dr K Kumar and SP Mr S Praveen Kumar rushed to the spot and tried to defuse the tension.
Meanwhile Church leaders have appealed to the community to avoid holding midnight prayers on 24 December at sensitive places.
At Phulbani a district level peace committee meeting was held today. The committee resolved to extend its unconditional co-operation and support to the Christian community in particular to celebrate Christmas and New Year in a peaceful manner. Those who will create trouble or foment tension during the observance will stringently be punished as per the law.
The meeting was attended by about 200 people of all sections. Mrs Sakuntala Mallick, chairperson of Zilla Parishad presided over the meeting. At Phulbani stadium a cultural programme was held with state level cricketers and singers performing and appealing for peace and communal harmony.
At the state capital Bhubaneswar, chief secretary Mr Ajit Tripathy, home secretary Mr AP Padhee reviewed the security arrangements. Presently there are 39 companies of paramilitary forces and three company of Rapid Action Force in Kandhamal district.

Statesman News Service