Orissa on high alert, state govt. orders probe into killing of VHP leader

August 24th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Bhubaneswar, Aug 24 (ANI): The Orissa Government has ordered judicial probe into the killing of VHP leader Swamy Laxmananada Saraswati and his followers in Kandhamal district.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik announced this after a high level meeting in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

He said a massive man hunt has been launched in the district to nab the culprits. An ex-gratia of two lakh rupees each will be given the families of the victims. The unidentified assailants gunned down Mr. Saraswati and his four followers in the district Saturday night.

Prohibitory orders were on Sunday clamped in communally-sensitive Kandhmal district and security tightened across Orissa after the killing of a prominent VHP leader and his five associates sparked protests in the state with a prayer house being torched.

Activists of VHP and other saffron outfits staged demonstrations, blocked roads and stopped trains at several places since last night after the 85-year-old VHP leader, Laxmanananda Saraswati, who had been working among tribals against religious conversion, was gunned down at an ashram for girls at Jalespeta in Tumudibandh block.

The Hindu outfits have given a call for 12-hour Orissa bandh on Monday, while a shut down was observed on Sunday in Angul.

The situation in the tribal dominated Kandhmal district “is tense but under control” after the killing of VHP activists last night by unidentified attackers, Kandhmal District Collector Krishan Kumar told a news agency over phone Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were clamped in the district to prevent any flare up, he said.

A small thatched structure used as a prayer house was set afire by unidentified persons late last night at Tentulijhari in Sundergarh district, Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Pranabindu Acharya said.

Nobody was injured in the incident, he said adding, efforts are on to nab the miscreants.

“We are keeping a close watch since the incident took place,” Kumar said.

A high alert was sounded across the state and additional security forces sought from the Centre. (ANI)

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