Hindu leader’s murder accused sent to judicial custody

December 15th, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 15 (IANS) A court Monday sent four people arrested for their alleged involvement in the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader to 14-day judicial custody.The court of Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Panda at Baliguda in the Kandhamal district remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days as no bail petitions were filed on their behalf, government lawyer B. Loknath Dora told IANS by telephone.

The four people were arrested from different places in the district Sunday, taking the total number of arrests in the case to seven. Three people were arrested in the first week of October.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram at Jaleshpata Aug 3.

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

Thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. At least 38 people were killed in the violence.

The state government was under pressure to expedite the probe after some Hindu groups threatened to observe a state-wide shutdown on Christmas if all those involved in the murder were not arrested.

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