VHP condemns 'illegal' arrests in Kandhmal

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 2: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Orissa state general secretary Gouri Prasad Rath has condemned 'illegal' arrests of RSS, VHP and Bajarang Dal workers in Kandhamal district.

''The police have been resorting to illegal arrests of Hindus while the killers of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati are moving freely,'' Mr Rath said in a statement here.

Coming down heavily on the Orissa government for its failure to nab the killers of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, the VHP general secretary warned that the ''police excesses on Hindus would affect the peace talks initiated by the state government in the trouble-torn Kandhmal district.'' Police arrested 35 people, including a few VHP workers, without any valid reason, Mr Rath alleged, adding that people in Phulbani, Raikia, G Udaygiri, Tikabali, Tumudibandha, Nuagaon, Baliguda Gochhapad and Phiringia were suffering due to imposition of curfew and police excesses.

Meanwhile, a three-member delegation of Hyderabad-based Forum for Justice visited Kandhamal to garner first hand information on the communal violence.

Former Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court A Gopal Rao, former IG of Police (CID) of Andhra Pradesh Venkateswarullu and Forum general secretary Rajeswar Rao visited the district and held talks with district officials.

The delegation also visited Jalespata Ashram, where Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples were shot dead on August 23. It also visited Raikia, Baliguda and G Udayagiri areas of Kandhamal district, affected by month-long violence.

UNI

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