Kandhamal villagers live in fear ahead of mass rally by VHP

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Kandhamal, Aug 13 (ANI): Fresh fears of trouble has gripped the villagers in Orissa's Kandhamal District on the eve of Gokulashtami and a mass rally organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of their leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.

"We are scared because last year we had to face a lot of problems due to violence. We are in apprehension about fresh violence this year because of which we are living in fear," said Hari Ram, a resident.

Meanwhile, the police have made adequate arrangements to ensure that there are no untoward incidents in the district.

"About 53 platoons of Orissa Police have been deployed in various parts of Kandhamal district. We are deploying checkposts at various vulnerable points on the important affected routes," said M M Praharaj, Director General of Police.

Besides checkposts, police forces will be mobilised through motorcycles and will keep vigil in civil clothes.

Moreover, Maoists have put up posters declaring August 13 as 'Vijay Diwas' for killing Saraswati in the region.

The VHP also plans to organise a silent protest in Kandhamal to protest against the State Government's failure to nab the killers of Saraswati.

The VHP had earlier planned to organize 'Sacrifice Day' at the district headquarters and also in Bhubaneshwar on Janmashtami.

Saraswati and his four aides were killed on August 23 last year at his Jaleshpata ashram in Kandhamal, about 200 km from Bhubaneswar, triggering communal violence in the state.

Some Hindu organisations, which held Christians responsible for the crime, launched attacks on them. Thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes and many were killed in the violence.

Later, the Orissa police alleged Maoists' involvement in the killings. (ANI)

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