VHP, Bajrang Dal activists protest ban on Togadia's visit to Kandhamal

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New Delhi, Mar 20(ANI): Activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal staged a demonstration here on Saturday against the ban on their leader Praveen Togadia's visit to Orissa's Kandhamal district.

Orissa Government has imposed a ban on VHP leader Togadia from entering the communally sensitive Kandhamal district.

Holding placards and banners, the protestors gathered at Jantar Mantar and shouted slogans against the Orissa Government.

The protestors also accused the Orissa Government of being biased.

"The state government didn't stop foreign missionaries from going to tribal areas of Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa. They were being provided with full support and freedom. But when a leader who is an International Secretary General of VHP tries to go to Kandhamal, the government stopped him. We are staging a nation-wide protest against this," said Swadesh Pal Gupta, a VHP leader.

Kandhamal was rocked by communal violence in 2008, sparked off by the murder of a senior religious leader in the region, which resulted in large-scale killings.

Around 50 Christian families in Gadguda village of Kandhamal were forced to move, when their houses got destroyed in fires set off by rioters. Many of them migrated to other places, while the elderly and children went to relief camps.

Earlier on Friday, Togadia was arrested for attempting to enter riot-hit Kandhamal, and was released early today.

Togadia was stopped at Charichhak in Boudh district as he tried to enter Kandhamal.

He was booked under Section 151 of the CrPc to prevent breach of peace in the area.

Terming the ban as illegal, he said, it was not fair on the part of the State Government to put a restriction on his visit.

Meanwhile, the VHP had called for 12-hour Kandhamal shutdown today in protest against the administration's move. (ANI)

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