BJP candidate from Kandhamal arrested for hate speech

April 14th, 2009 - 4:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhubaneswar, April 14 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate Ashok Sahu was arrested Tuesday for making an inflammatory speech in Orissa’s Kandhamal region earlier this month.
“Sahu was arrested from Phulbani town,” Kandhamal District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS.

Sahu, who is the BJP’s candidate for the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat, was accused of delivering a communally charged speech on April 5 at a public meeting in Raikia town. He allegedly accused the church of indulging in conversion.

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

At least 38 people were killed in the state and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. More than 3,000 people are still living in government relief camps.

Sahu, linked to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had made similar remarks during the communal violence last year. Christian leaders had immediately refuted the allegations.

While Sahu is contesting the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has also nominated Manoj Pradhan, an accused in the riots, for the assembly election from G. Udayagiri constituency in the district.

Pradhan was arrested about four months ago and is still in jail.

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