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VHP, Bajrang Dal slam ban on Togadia's Kandhamal visit

Source: ANI
March 20, 2010 20:53 IST
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Activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal staged a demonstration in New Delhi on Saturday against the ban on their leader Praveen Togadia's visit to Orissa's Kandhamal district.

The 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, accusing it 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.

Nearly 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 sought refuge in relief camps.

Earlier on Friday, Togadia was arrested for attempting to enter 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 Criminal Procedure Code to prevent breach of peace in the area.

The VHP has called for a 12-hour Kandhamal shutdown today to protest against the administration's move.

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Source: ANI