Berhampur, December 21 (LocalWire): The Kandhamal police have sought additional forces for making security arrangements during the Christmas celebration, the biggest festival of the Christian community here.
“Besides the existing forces, we have sought additional 34 platoons of forces for security during Christmas,” Gajapati superintendent of police Prateek Singh said, adding that they have already alerted the police stations, while the anti-Maoist operation was going on in the district.
“Checking of the vehicles will be stared mainly in the border areas from Sunday onwards,” he stated.
“Patrolling would be intensified in different areas ahead of the Christmas, while forces deployed near the churches in communal sensitive and vulnerable areas. The assessment was on to identify the sensitive areas in the district,” the police stated.
“Earlier the peace committee meetings were held in different police stations involving local people,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, the district administration held a meeting with the different community and religious leaders and sought their cooperation to ensure a peaceful celebration during Christmas.
“We appeal to all sections of the society to ensure peaceful celebration of the Christmas in the district,” collector Brundha D said after a meeting with the representatives of different communities at Phulbani on Friday.
She has also directed the field level officials to keep vigil in their respective areas ahead of the festival.
Meanwhile, police have decided to deploy more forces in some of the communally-sensitive areas and to intensify patrolling across the district on the eve of the Christmas.
Having a sizeable Christian population, Kandhamal was witnessed widespread communal and ethnic violence in the aftermath of the killing of the senior VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four disciples on 23 August 2008.
At least 38 people had died, while several hundred houses and religious structures were destroyed in the violence.
Similarly Khageswar Mallick, a tribal leader was killed at Barkhama village under Baliguda police station limit on 25 December 2007 during the riots.
Like every year, the Kui Samaj Samanaya Samiti (KSSS), a tribal outfit in the district has decided to hold a rally on 25 December to pay tribute to Mallick at Barkhama.
Meanwhile, the churches and prayer houses in the district have started decoration with the lights and stars, while boys and girls have started to practice singing carol.
The traditional carol singing starts the day before Christmas, to announce the birth of Jesus.