Christmas celebrated peacefully in Kandhamal

After performing mid-night mass at churches in the tribal-dominated district, Christians thronged their places of worship this morning as people from all communities joined the celebrations.

The celebrations remained peaceful and churches and prayer halls were decorated tastefully. Elaborate security arrangements were made to prevent any untoward incident. Security personnel have been deployed at places of worship, prayer halls and Christian-inhabited areas, while streets were being patrolled, Superintendent of Police S Praveen Kumar said.

"Strict vigil is being maintained across the district which witnessed communal violence during Christmas in December 2007 and after the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati in August 2008," he said.

Meanwhile, the Kui Samaj Seva Samiti (KSSS) dropped its plan to hold processions on the day following persuasion by officials as it might create tension among religious and ethnic communities during the festival.

KSSS had planned a procession and a public meeting here to observe 'Saheed Divas' marking the third death anniversary of a tribal in the riots at Barkhama village in Baliguda block.

The tribal outfit agreed to hold only a symbolic meeting at its office in Barkhama.

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