Additional forces to riot affected Kandhamal: Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 5: To maintain a calm situation in Kandhamal district, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided to rush additional force to the riot-affected areas on Friday, Sep 5 in view of VHP's proposed 'kalas puja' of slain Swami Laxamananda Saraswati. "Even as situation in Kandhamal is under control, the state has decided to send additional force to the district," Patnaik told reporters after reviewing the prevailing situation across the state. The decision to send additional force was taken after Orissa assured the Supreme Court on Thursday, Sep 4 that it would not allow VHP leader Pravin Togadia to go ahead with his proposed yatra from Saraswati's ashram at Chakapada on September 7.

Vigilance on Kandhamal situation till Sunday, Sep 7 has been asked to officials by the Chief Minister as the VHP was planning to hold a massive convention of sadhus from across the country to commemorate 16th day of Saraswati's death, sources said.

"Though as many as 23 companies of para-military forces were deployed in Kandhamal, Chief Minister asked for additional deployment for the VHP's programme," a senior Home department official said.

Meanwhile, the VHP too toned down its proposed yatra in view of nationwide hue and cry over its plan.

"As such we had no plan to hold yatra. Followers of Swamiji will hold special prayer meetings across the state to pay homage to the departed Sadhu," VHP state unit general secretary Gouri Prasad Rath said.

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