Orissa to send more forces to Kandhamal for VHP rally


Bhubaneswar : Orissa will deploy more forces in Orissa’s Kandhamal district ahead of a rally planned by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Aug 13 in memory of its leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati who was killed last year, a senior state official said Monday.

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State Home Secretary A.P. Padhi told reporters that the government will deploy 12 platoons of OSAP (Orissa State Armed Police) and 500 SPOs (special police officers) to maintain peace. One platoon contains about 30 policemen.

They will be deployed in addition to one company of around a hundred personals of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 500 SPOs that are already present in the region, the official said.

“We have not banned any rally in the region so far,” Padhi said adding that the government is keeping a close watch on the situation and will take steps as per requirements.

The VHP has announced that it will hold a silent protest Aug 13 across the state including in Kandhamal, in memory of its leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati who was killed last year by alleged Maoists.

As many as 38 people were killed in the violence in Kandhamal following the murder of Saraswati and his associates. Last month, a man and his wife, both members of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist, surrendered before police and admitted to the killings.

However VHP state general secretary Gouri Prasad Rath said the protest they have planned is against the failure of the state government to nab all the killers and conspirators behind the murder.