Kandhamal peaceful on Saraswati's first death anniversary

Saraswati’s followers and Hindu groups had organised several functions in memory of the late religious leader in different parts of the district, particularly in the two ashrams set up by him at Chakapada and Jalespata.

Saraswati, it may be recalled, was gunned down by suspected Maoist naxals in one of these two ashrams on the night of Janmastami last year.

Saraswati’s followers wanted to have a peace march in memory of the late religious leader in Phulbani, the district headquarters town of Kandhamal, on Thursday morning. However, the district administration refused permission for that.

The entire backward district had turned into a police fort after the state government decided to enhance the force deployment from 12 platoons initially to as many as 54 platoons.

Moreover, the naxals operating in Kandhamal had given a bundh call in the district on Thursday and this had also prompted the administration to increase the force deployment.

According to a report reaching the state headquarters, the bundh had an impact in some areas of the district like Raikia. “The deployed forces will continue to remain in Kandhamal till August 23,” sources in the state home department said here.

Functions to mark the first death anniversary of Saraswati had also been organised by his followers in other districts of the state. The state unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad organised a “Mouna dharna”, a silent protest, in front of the Raj Bhavan here protesting the state government’s failure to nab the “real culprits” behind the killing of the Hindu religious leader.

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