Hindu groups call off Orissa Christmas shutdown

December 19th, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 19 (IANS) Hindu groups Friday called off their proposed state-wide shutdown in Orissa Dec 25 after assurance that the government will soon arrest all those involved in the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader in August.”The shutdown was called off in view of the assurance given by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that shortly all the killers and conspirators involved in the crime would be arrested,” Ratnakar Chaini, president of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati Shrdhanjali Samiti, said in a statement.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.

The region was witnessing renewed tension following a call by the Samiti to observe state-wide Shutdown on Christmas Dec 25 to demand the arrest of all those involved in the killing of Saraswati and his aides.

The police have arrested seven people in the crime and said others would be apprehended soon.

Patnaik earlier announced that he will not allow the shutdown and will ensure that the Christmas celebrations remain peaceful.

“While keeping close watch on the progress of the on-going investigation, the Samiti reserves all its rights to resort to democratic peaceful agitation depending on the situation,” Chaini said.

“Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) congratulates and thanks all including the chief minister and the civil society and the vibrant media for facilitating the decision to call off the shutdown,” Sajan George, president of the GCIC, told IANS.

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