Life disrupted in Kandhamal by VHP bandh call

Phulbani (Odisha), Feb 28: Normal life was disrupted in Kandhamal during a bandh called by VHP today protesting the ban on entry of its leader Praveen Togadia to the sensitive district.

Shops, business establishments, banks and petrol outlets remained closed during the dawn-to-dusk shut-down while vehicular movement was also affected in the tribal dominated district, police officials said.


While educational institutions and emergency services functioned during the bandh, VHP activists staged demonstration at some places.

Describing the bandh as a success, VHP's East Zone Assistant Secretary, Priyanath Sharma said it was observed in a peaceful manner in protest against the administration's decision to ban Togadia's visit to the district which was completely undemocratic.

The administration has prohibited the entry of Togadia to sensitive Kandhamal where Togadia was scheduled to address a public meeting at the district headquarters town of Phulbani here to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of VHP today.

Though there was no restriction on holding the meeting without Togadia, VHP decided to drop the plan saying it would have been meaningless in the absence of the senior leader.

"After thorough assessment of the report on law and order situation in the sensitive district, the administration has decided to ban Togadia's entry to the district," Kandhamal Superintendent of Police K B Singh had said.

The step was taken as a precautionary measure taking into consideration the sensitivity of the region and history of Kandhamal district, the SP said, adding, security has been strengthened in the district and frisking of vehicles were being carried out at vulnerable points.

The authorities have also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC for a week, he said. Security personnel in strength have been deployed in sensitive areas.

Around 22 platoons of armed forces (about 700 personnel), have taken position. Of them, 12 platoons in Phulbani town to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident, he said.

Kandhamal district had witnessed widespread violence after the killing of senior VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati at his Jalespeta ashram on August 23, 2008.


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