'Mobile phones flared Kandhamal riots'

“I will like to blame the use of new technology like mobile phones for flaring up the riots in Kandhamal,” Orissa Director-General of Police Manmohan Praharaj said at a national seminar on the “Role of police in promotion of communal harmony and national integration” held here on Tuesday.

Admitting that the state police faced a lot of difficulty in tackling the communal situation in Kandhamal that broke out in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati, the DGP said mischief mongers had easy access to mobile phones to engineer and organise riots across the communally sensitive district.

“While controlling riots earlier was comparatively easy for the police, it had become difficult now because of the advent of new technology,” Praharaj said adding that security personnel had to act in an impartial manner in order to bring back normalcy in the affected areas.

Madhusudan Padhi, Special Administrator for Kandhamal, however, said religious conversion was a major factor behind the disturbances. “When we talk of communal harmony, one must see the reasons behind disharmony,” Padhi pointed out.  The nature of communal violence varied from place to place.

The reasons behind riots in Gujarat were totally different from that in Kandhamal. “Therefore, one must try to go to the roots in order to solve the problem,” he said. Besides conversion, alleged issue of fake certificate and disputes over land between tribals and Scheduled Castes contributed to the clash that claimed over 40 lives, Padhi said.

PTI

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