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Orissa gives subsidised rice to riots victims

Bhubaneswar, Oct 25 (IANS) Orissa Monday begun providing rice at Rs.2 a kg to the victims of the 2008 communal riots in Kandhamal district in which at least 38 people were killed, officials said.

The rice was distributed to the victims at various places after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the special scheme at a public meeting at Sankarkhol village, some 25 km from the district headquarters of Phulbani, district collector Krishan Kumar told IANS.

Currently the state government has been providing 25 kg of rice per month at Rs.2 a kg to all the people listed under below poverty line (BPL) across the state and people listed as above poverty line (APL) in the backward districts of Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput.

‘This is for the first time riots victims as well as some of those above poverty lines have also been covered under the scheme in Kandhamal district’, he said.

At least 25,000 families in the district will benefit from this. While 13,000 of them received the subsidized rice Monday, remaining families would be covered during next fortnight, Kumar said.

Kandhamal, about 200 km from Bhubaneswar, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

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