Phulbani (Odisha), Feb 27: The district administration has prohibited the entry of VHP leader Praveen Togadia to sensitive Kandhamal in Odisha on Friday fearing trouble.
Togadia was scheduled to address a public meeting at the district headquarters town of Phulbani here to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of VHP tomorrow.
"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 said today.
Both SP and district Collector N Thirumal Naik said there is no restriction on VHP holding the meeting and they can go ahead with their programme without Togadia.
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 from today, 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. Some local Christian bodies had opposed Togadia's visit apprehending it could disturb peace in the area.
They had urged the administration to prohibit his visit. It may be recalled that Kandhamal witnessed widespread violence after the killing of senior VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati at his Jalespeta ashram on August 23, 2008.
Describing the ban order as 'undemocratic and unconstitutional', VHP leaders threatened to protest the move by observing a bandh.