Togadia demands public apology from Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 25: VHP International Secretary Pravin Bhai Togadia on Monday, Aug 25 demanded a public apology from Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, holding him responsible for the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. Talking to newspersons at the airport, Mr Togadia, who arrived from Delhi to attend the last rites of the Swamiji, alleged that Christian militants had killed the VHP leader and demanded that the ''activities of Churches in Orissa be banned.'' The VHP leader described the killing of Swami Laxmananda as 'most barbaric' and termed it as an 'attack on the Hindu religion by the Churches.'

Mr Togadia said five Christians, identified as Willam Digal, Bikram Digal, Bijaya Parchha, Raju Parichha and Pradosh, were so far arrested in connection with the murder. He said the Swamiji was killed at 1900 hours and within 30 minutes, state Director General Police Gopal Nanda announced that Naxalites had killed the Swamiji.

Mr Togadia alleged that the DGP tried to mislead the people and made such 'absurd' statements to protect the interest of the Churches. He also held Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the incident.

''He may agree or not agree to take responsibility but it is a fact that he failed to protect the life of a saint who had worked with all dedication for last four decades for the welfare of the tribals and safeguard the Hindu religion,'' he said.

The VHP leader further alleged that both the Chief Minister and the DGP had failed to protect the life of the Swamiji who had even lodged an FIR with the police, apprehending threat to his life.

He said mere announcement of the Judicial inquiry was not enough, adding that the government should ban the activities of the Churches in Orissa.

When asked whether he would demand resignation of the Chief Minister, the VHP leader quipped that Mr Patnaik should tender a public apology for the incident.


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