Kandhamal Relived as Lakshmanananda Anniversary Passes Peacefully
Janmashtami celebrations commemorating the first anniversary of the slaying of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati on Thursday passed off peacefully in the communally sensitive Kandhamal district of Orissa.
On Janmashtami day (August 23) last year unidentified gunmen assassinated the VHP leader, a staunch anti-conversion proponent, and four associates at his Jalaspata ashram in the district.
Amid memories of the slaying which triggered communal riots that resulted in at least 40 fatalities and forced thousands to flee their homes in fear, elaborate security arrangements had been put in place for the occasion.
A huge security posse consisting of Central Reserve Police Force, the Orissa Special Strike Force, Special Operations Group, Orissa State Armed Police and Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force was deployed and vehicles coming into the region were checked to prevent any untoward incident.
Collector Kishan Kumar said no organisation was allowed to hold any rally or demonstration. Following the restrictions, the Sangh Parivar cancelled a proposed silent march in Phulbani.
The administration also activated peace committees in every block, especially in 88 panchayats with a history of communal discord.
Memorial services were held for the Swami inside the Jalaspata and Chakapada ashrams.
In the state capital, the VHP organised a silent protest against the government’s failure to arrest those responsible for the murder.