Kandhamal BJP candidate arrested for hate speech

April 14th, 2009 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhubaneswar, April 14 (IANS) Ashok Sahu, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for Orissa’s Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency, was arrested Tuesday for his alleged inflammatory speech earlier this month, an official said.
Sahu, arrested from Phulbani town, is accused of violating the model code of conduct and creating caste and religious divide by making provocative speeches April 5 at a public meeting in Raikia town. If proven guilty he could be jailed for over three years.

“We arrested him under section 153 A of Indian Penal Code and 125 (A) Representation of People Act,” district superintendent of police S. Praveen Kumar told IANS.

The BJP candidate allegedly accused the Church and Christian leaders of indulging in conversion.

A case was registered against him April 8 on the basis of a complaint by a district official.

After arrest Sahu was seen requesting his supporters to remain calm and not resort to any violence.

Locals expressed fears that the arrest could renew tension in the region that goes to poll April 16 but the administration says adequate security arrangements were in place to avoid any untoward incident.

The 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 last year.

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

While Sahu is contesting the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has also nominated jailed leader 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.

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