Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, four others shot dead

August 24th, 2008 - 1:12 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Aug 23 (IANS) At least five people, including a top leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), were shot dead in an ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district by an armed group during Janmashtami festival celebrations Saturday, the police said.Over 20 armed people attacked at the ashram at Jalespata village, some 340 km from here, at about 8 p.m. and started firing.

“Five persons were killed. They include Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati,” Gopal Chandra Nanda, state director general of police, told IANS.

The dead include Swami Amrutananda, a woman and a boy, he said.

The police could not confirm whether the attackers were Maoist guerrillas.

Saraswati was a senior VHP leader.

The police have clamped orders prohibiting the gathering of four or more people in the entire district.

After hearing the news of the killings, thousands of people blocked roads in several places of the state.

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