The apex court also asked the State Government whether it had granted permission to VHP leader Praveen Togadia to carry the ash of slain leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati during his proposed yatra. A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal will hear the matter. The petition also sought the involvement of the National Human Rights Commissions (NHRC) to conduct a probe and find out as to which organisation was behind the Kandhamal violence.
The petitioner further claimed that the Rapid Action Force (RAF) has been deployed only in the cities and the rural areas had been left out and bore the maximum brunt of the unrest. They want the RAF to be deployed in rural areas as well.Moreover, the petitioners wanted that a compensation of Rs. four lakh each should be given to those whose property were destroyed in the violence.
On August 23, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati along with four other people was shot dead in his Jalaspeta Ashram near Tumudibandha in Kandhamal District. The remote and forested Kandhamal region is rife with religious tension between hardline Hindus who accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith. The region is also a stronghold of Maoist rebels and police said that there is evidence to link the rebels to last week''s murders.
The police sources said that by attacking Hindus, the Maoists were trying to win support among the region''s poor tribes, many of whom have converted to Christianity.