Kalas Puja performed in Chakapada Ashram

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 7 (UNI) Hundreds of Sadhus today performed the Kalas Puja inside the Chakapada Ashram in riot-torn Kandhamal district in memory of slain VHP leader and saint Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

Around 300 Sadhus participated in the Kalaspuja and installed a ''Shiva Linga'' on the ''Samadhi'' of the Swamiji amidst bhajans and kirtans.

The Kalaspuja was followed by a ''Shradhanjali Sabha'' organised by the Swami Laxmananda Saraswati Shradhanjali Samiti amidst tight security to enable people pay their homage to Swamiji.

Kalas Puja is a ritual observed on the 16th day of the death of a Hindu saint.

Swami Laxmananda Saraswati was gunned down by some armed assailants along with four of his disciples on August 23 in Jalaspeta Ashram in Kandhamal.

Several religious centres and prayer houses were damaged and people were attacked in the aftermath of the murder in Kandhamal and some other areas of the state.

The organisers had announced that hundreds of Sadhus from different parts of the state and outside would join the Kalas puja and Shradhanjali Sabha organised in the Chakapada Ashram.

Apprehending trouble during the puja, the authorities made unprecedented security arrangements as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.

All the entry points to the district, including Brahamanipada, Bhanjanagar, Tangarapathar, Line pada and Gallery Chhak, were sealed and the authorities did not allow any Sadhu or devotee to enter the district.

However, after much persuasion the authorities allowed a few sadhus who had come from Bhubaneswar to join the Puja.

Bajrang Dal State Convenor Umashankar Acharya said even the ''Vana Vasis'' residing in nearby villages were also not allowed to join the puja in the Ashram and forced to go back.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were in force and the authorities extended the curfew imposed in Tikabali area till tomorrow.

As many as 38 companies of CRPF and Rapid Action Force, 27 platoons of Orissa State Armed Police, in addition to the regular police forces, were deployed in the district to prevent any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, official sources said no major untoward incident was reported in the district during the past few days.

UNI BD DPM RL PM1612

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