X-Mas in Kandhmal amid tight security
It's Christmas on Thursday and for the Christians of Orissa what should have been a celebration is a tense and uneasy day instead. Even though the Sangh Parivar has called off a proposed bandh, there is still concern.
Home Minister P Chidambaram has appealed to the people of Orissa to maintain peace and harmony on the occasion of Christmas.
In a statement, the Home Minister said Christians were worried about their safety after a bandh call by Hindutva outfits demanding the arrest of a VHP leader's killers. However, he said that the Orissa chief minister has assured that there will be no bandh.
Chidambaram also said: "My appeal to the people of Orissa is to maintain the peace and harmony among different communities. I am confident that the Government of Orissa will ensure that Christmas and the days following will be marked by peace and harmony."
The Centre has sent extra forces for security and has also provided a helicopter to patrol over the Kandhamal and Sambhalpur districts.
However, Raphael Cheenath, the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar diocese has expressed apprehensions about peaceful a Christmas in Kandhmal and the rest of the state.