Orissa says it will not permit VHP shutdown Dec 25

December 16th, 2008 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 15 (IANS) Orissa Monday announced that it will not permit the state wide shutdown called by some Hindu groups on Christmas Day, demanding arrest of all those involved in the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Aug 23 that led to communal violence in the state.”No shutdown will be permitted Dec 25,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the assembly while replying to a discussion on the communal violence in the district of Kandhamal.

“The government will come down heavily on those who try to create any trouble,” Patnaik said.

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 at Jaleshpata Aug 23.

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.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati Sradhanjali Samiti (SLSSS), an organisation linked to Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has threatened to observe state-wide shutdown Dec 25 if all those involved in the crime were not arrested by Dec 15.

The police have already arrested seven persons, including four on Sunday, for the VHP leader’s killing.

But Samiti president Ratnakar Chaini described the arrest as just an eyewash and reiterated that there is no change in the shutdown plan.

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