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Ashram chief in Odisha gets threat calls

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Phulbani, Feb 21: The chief of a Kanya ashram in Odisha's Kandhamal district founded by VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati has received threat calls prompting the police to tighten the security in the ashram, an officer said on Sunday.

Ashram chief in Odisha gets threat calls

The chief of Gurukul Sanskrit Kanya ashram at Jalespatta, Swami Jivanmuktananda Puri has lodged a formal complaint at Timudibandha Police Station, about 125 km from the district headquarters Phulbani town, seeking security after receiving two threat calls in the last 24-hours.

While the first threat call was received on Saturday evening, the next one came on Sunday morning from the same telephone number. The police have tightened security in the ashram by deploying armed forces keeping in view of the sensitivity of the case, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Baliguda, Manoj Pujari told PTI.

Immediately after getting the complaint, inspector- in-charge of Timudibandha Police Station, Babashankar Saraf visited the ashram and made security arrangements. A bomb squad is now engaged in checking the places inside the ashram as the caller had also threatened to blow up the entire establishment, he said.

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The Kanya ashram has presently about 90 girl inmates, most of them being orphans or single parent children belonging to tribal families. Worried over the safety of the girl inmates, volunteers and self, Swami Jivanmuktananda Puri demanded a full proof security arrangement in and around the ashram in the backdrop of large scale communal violence following the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four followers at Jalespata Ashram on August 23, 2006 .

At least 38 people were killed during the communal riot which continued for about two month in Kandhamal district. The naxals had a hand in the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and police this time also suspect that the anonymous caller might be from the same outlawed outfit with intent to create social disharmony in Odisha.

Special Public Prosecutor Bijay K Patnaik, who was appointed to oversee the Kandhamal riot cases in 2008, said: "As many as 500 people were convicted in the 79 riot cases. More than 25,000 people were then lodged in relief camps as their houses were burnt down during the riot."

Meanwhile, the Odisha unit of BJP on Sunday rushed a seven member team including two MLAs, Mukesh Mahalinga and Kusum Tete, to Jalespata Ashram to take stock of the situation. The VHP Odisha unit at a press conference came down heavily on the Odisha government and accused it of not taking action against the main culprits involved in Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati's killing in 2008.

"The killers of Laxmanananda Sawaraswati are roaming free since 2008 and therefore, they got encouraged to issue such threat calls. We demand strong security for the ashram and its inmates," said VHP state vice-president Pandit Mahesh Sahu.

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