A 24-year-old Christian woman working as an orphanage caretaker was burnt to death in Bargarh in western Orissa today while churches were attacked and set ablaze in other parts of the state by mobs led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists, enforcing a bandh to protest the killing of their leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four followers in a suspected Maoist attack.
Bargarh sub-collector Prabhat Bhoi identified the woman killed in the orphanage attack as Rajni and said she was also an undergraduate student. Bhoi said Rajni died of burns while Father Eddy was beaten up severely. The orphanage children were rescued by villagers.
IGP (Law and Order) Pradip Kapoor clarified that the woman killed in Bargarh was not a nun while Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Commissioner of Police B K Sharma denied reports that a nun had been raped in Bhubaneswar.
In Kandhamal, where the last rites of Lakshmanananda Saraswati were performed at his ashram in Chakapada, his supporters defied curfew to target churches, houses and vehicles. Orissa DGP G C Nanda said two policemen were injured when they tried to stop a mob from attacking churches. There was also an attempt to attack the District Collector.