Security beefed up in Kandhamal for seer’s death anniversary

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Phulbani: As the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is set to hold a condolence meeting to observe the death anniversary of its slain leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati at Gandhi Smruti Bhawan here today, police have made elaborate security arrangements to avert any untoward incident during the occasion.

Saraswati, along with four of his followers, was brutally killed on this day eight years ago triggering a month-long riot in Kandhamal district that left at least 38 persons, a majority of them Christians, dead.

As many as 21 platoons of OSAP police, two companies of CRPF, two companies of SOG and one unit of DVF along with two ODRAF teams have been deployed in the vulnerable areas of the district. Two ASPs, seven DSPs and 30 police officers have been engaged to supervise the security arrangements in the district. In view of the riots that followed the killing of the seer, police in plainclothes have also been stationed to check security activities, sources said.

The anniversary of the VHP leader, is set to be observed over two days beginning today. While the condolence meeting will be held here today, the death anniversary as per the Hindu calendar, which happens to be Janmashatami day, will be observed at the Jalespata and Chakapada Ashrams set up by Saraswati tomorrow.

A Kalasa Jatra, followed by special worship, will be organised on the occasion, said VHP’s East Zone Assistant Secretary, Priyanath Sharma. Many Hindu leaders and saints are scheduled to attend the event, he added.

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