Swami Agnivesh demands ban on VHP and Bajrang Dal

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 1 (UNI) Social activist and World Council of Arya Samaj President Swami Agnivesh today demanded a complete ban on the activities of VHP and Bajrang Dal in the country.

''There is enough evidence to put a ban on these two organisations,'' Swami Agnivesh told newspersons here while expressing concern over the communal violence in Orissa allegedly unleashed by the members of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal.

''Bajrang Dal in fact is emerging as a 'terrorist' organisation in the country,'' he remarked.

Swami Agnivesh along with some other social activists had arrived here to visit the riot-hit areas of Kandhamal but were denied permission by the state government.

Reacting to the state government's ban on their entry into the trouble-torn Kandhamal, Swami Agnivesh said it was an irony that the state government had allowed the VHP leaders to visit Kandhamal but prevented the social activists to visit the area.

He rejected the judicial inquiry ordered by the government into the Kandhamal violence and demanded that the matter be either probed by the CBI or by a Supreme Court judge.

Former Bombay High Court judge justice H Suresh who also accompanied Swami Agnivesh, alleged that there had been a total constitutional breakdown in Kandhamal. He also opposed the judicial inquiry stating that it would never serve the purpose.

Several social activists, led by Swami Agnivesh, met Orissa Governor M C Bhandare and requested him to visit the affected areas to make an independent assessment of the situation.

They also urged the Governor to apprise the Centre of the findings of his visit, recommend CBI probe into the killing of Swami Laxmanand Saraswati and the violence that followed and initiate proceedings so that the National Human Rights Commission would commence an investigation forthwith.

The social activists, who included among others Ms Meenakshi Ganguly from Asia Division Human Rights Watch, National Integration Council member Shabnam Hasmi, National Dalit Movement for Justice general secretary Dr.Sirivella Prasad and AIDMAM National Convener Vimal Thorat, urged the state government to arrest all those responsible for attack on the Christians, launch comprehensive relief and rescue operation to bring the displaced to safer places, involve NGOs and Civil Society in relief and rescue operation, punish the officials who failed in their job to protect the lives of the people and deploy adequate central para military forces to contain the violence.

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