Security up in Kandhamal


 The Orissa government has tightened security in the troubled Kandhamal district in view of Janmastami and the first death anniversary of Hindu religious leader and senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activist, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, which will be observed on Thursday.

Saraswati’s followers and different Hindu organisations, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad , have planned a number of programmes in memory of the leader in Kandhamal as well as in other parts of the state.

Saraswati was gunned down at his ashram in Kandhamal by suspected Naxalites on the night of Janmastami last year, which triggered unprecedented Hindu-Christian communal riots in the tribal-dominated district. Several people lost their lives and thousands rendered homeless. Home secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said 12 platoons of the Orissa State Armed Police force, besides 500 special police officers, had been deployed in Kandhamal. One company of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is already stationed in the district. All  police stations have been asked to remain on high alert. Director-General of Police Manmohan Praharaj, who is currently camping in Kandhamal, has already held two rounds of review meetings in Phulbani, the district headquarters.
Meanwhile, Naxalites have pasted posters in Kandhamal appealing to the people to observe a bandh on Thursday. They have also urged the people to boycott the Independence Day celebrations.

In a separate Naxal-related incident on Wednesday, three Maoists, including two women, were killed in the Mukundapur area of the tribal-dominated Rayagara district during a joint combing operation launched by the Orissa and Andhra Pradesh police, the CRPF and the jawans of the Special Operation Group.

Precautionary measures
The administration has taken steps to open shelters at sensitive pockets for people, who feel afraid of staying at their villages tomorrow, the DGP said.Some pockets under Raikia, Tumudibandha and Daringbadi blocks were identified as sensitive places, where special security arrangements have been made.

Though the police have made elaborate security arrangements, members of minority community, who were targetted after Saraswati's killing last year, still feel insecure.

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