Janmashtami celebrated amid security in Kandhamal

The death anniversary of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati is being observed in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. He was killed by assailants in Kandhamal district on the day of Janmashtami in 2008. Photo: Lingraj PandaAmidst tight security, Janmashtami celebrations and ritualistic observation of the sixth death anniversary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati passed off peacefully in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Sunday.

According to police sources, no untoward incidents were reported. The security will remain on Monday as the Janmashtami celebrations are to continue.

Meetings and rituals for the death anniversary of the VHP leader were held at his Jalaspata ashram, where he was murdered as well as at Chakapada, where had been cremated.

Strict vigil

Since Saturday, all roads leading to communally volatile as well as Maoist-prone areas have been under strict vigil.

There was increased patrolling, vehicle checking and combing operations. Thirty platoons of police personnel, four of the Special Operation Group (SOG), one of the District Voluntary Force (DVF), and three of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed throughout the district along with two units of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF). Thirty police officers, seven Deputy Superintendents of Police, and one Additional Superintendent of Police manage the security through a round-the-clock control room.

Demand for a CBI inquiry into the murder of the VHP leader was made at the memorial meeting organised in Bhubaneswar by Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Smritinyas. Members of the organisation alleged that the State Crime Branch has failed to nab the conspirators behind the murder.

The VHP leader was murdered along with his four associates at his Jalaspata Ashram on Aug 23, 2008, while Janmashtami celebrations were on. It had triggered a large-scale communal violence throughput Kandhamal and some other parts of Odisha in which at least 38 persons were killed and hundreds had become homeless. Eight persons have already been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the murder case. The prime accused in this case, Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, was arrested in July.

Source: The Hindu