Janmastami observed as “Atmahuti Divas” in Kandhamal

Phulbani: "Janmastami", the festival marking birth day of Lord Krishna, was observed on Wednesday as "Atmahuti Divas" (life sacrifice day) at the ashrams established by VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati on the occasion of his fifth death anniversary.
Various rituals like "Sankirtan", "Nama yagna", "Anna yagna", "Ghruta yagna" were observed to commemorate the occasion amidst tight security. The day is being celebrated peacefully across Kandhamal, the police said.
Saraswati along with his four associates including an elderly woman, were gunned down by unidentified miscreants, while they were celebrating Janmastami at Jalespeta ashram on August 23, 2008.
Saraswati's killing sparked large scale ethno-communal violence in Kandhamal leaving 44 people dead and burning of 4956 houses and 229 churches and prayer cottages in 2008 and 2009 rendering 25,000 people home-less.
"Four platoons (120 personnel) of armed forces have been deployed in and around the ashrams and intense patrolling and checking in some vulnerable places and entry points of the district are being carried out since last night," said Kandhamal district Additional Superintendent of Police G C Mallick.
A total of 25 platoon of force was deployed in communally sensitive Kandhamal district, he said.
Saraswati had set up two ashrams at Jalespeta and Chakapada where he had been imparting education and lifestyle techniques to tribals till his killing.