Patnaik charges Centre with delay in sending forces to Orissa

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New Delhi, Oct 13 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today charged the Centre with delay in sending paramilitary forces to the state to contain violence against minorities in Kandhmal and said the state government has arrested thousands of people for indulging in violence.

Mr Patnaik, while talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of National Integration Council meeting, said the arrested included Bajrang Dal activists also. Asked whether he would demand a ban on Bajrang Dal, the Chief Minister said it was a decision which the Centre has to take.

Denying that Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Central leaders were not allowed into the state while VHP leader Pravin Togadia visited Kandhmal, he said Mr Togadia went very early just after the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. He said Mr Patil went while Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal could not go there as his helicopter could not take off from Kolkata due to bad weather.

Stating that there was a delay in Central forces reaching the state, he said the violence started on September 23, while the Central forces reached on September 26. He also denied that the forces were not used effectively by the Central government. Mr Patnaik demanded more forces from the Centre to deal with the situation.

Asked why he was compromising his secular credentials, Mr Patnaik said, ''Among the arrested people, Bajrang Dal activists were also there and the truth will prevail in the end.'' UNI AJ BDP CS1844

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