Four more arrested for Orissa Hindu leader’s killing

Bhubaneswar, Dec 14 (IANS) Four more people were arrested Sunday for their alleged involvement in the killing a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in Orissa Aug 23 that led to communal violence in the state, the police said.

With this, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to seven. Three persons were arrested earlier in the first week of October.

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“Four persons were arrested today (Sunday),” state Inspector General of Police (Crime Branch) Arun Kumar Ray told IANS.

“Some more persons were also detained for questioning,” he said without divulging any details.

The state government was under pressure during the past weeks after Hindu groups threatened to observe state-wide shutdown on Christmas (Dec 25) if all those involved in the crime were not arrested.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati of the VHP 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.