Congress leader abducted in Orissa’s Kandhamal district

December 18th, 2008 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 18 (IANS) Unidentified men allegedly abducted a Congress leader in Orissa’s Kandhamal district where communal clashes in August and September killed 38 people, the police said Thursday.District Seva Dal president Jubaraj Digal, 45, was abducted Tuesday evening near Sitapanga under G. Udayagiri block by unidentified men when he was returning home on a motorcycle with his son Mona, 25, the police said.

The men kidnapped Digal and took away his motorcycle, his son who managed to escape told the police the same night.

“We are examining the case to see if it has any communal angle,” District Superintendent of Police S. Pravin Kumar told IANS.

“A dog squad was engaged today (Thursday) to do a through search of the area,” Kumar said.

The matter came to light after Congress member Jaydev Jena who is also the president of the state Congress raised it in the assembly Thursday.

Jena and some Congress members feared that Digal could have been killed.

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 Aug 23.

While police blamed Maoists for the killings, some Hindu organisations held Christians responsible for the crime and launched attacks on the community.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands of Christians forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 8,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

The region is witnessing renewed tension following demand by Hindu groups to observe state wide shutdown on Christmas Dec 25 demanding arrest of all people involved in the killing of Saraswati and his aides.

Police has arrested seven people in the crime and said others would be apprehended soon.

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