Lack of security led to Swamis killing: BJP

Bubaneswar: Blaming Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the prolonged violence in Kandhamal following the killing of Swami Laxmananada Saraswati in 2008, senior BJB leader Biswa Bhushan Harichandan on Thursday claimed that the killing of Swami could have been averted by providing him with adequate security.

Deposing before the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice S C Mohapatra here, Harichandan said, “When Saraswati had a threat to his life, I had suggested the CM to enhance his security. But he said he will look into it”.

Harichandan was Law and Revenue Minister in the Naveen Patnaik government from 2004 to 2009 during which at least 43 people were killed in violence in Kandhamal.

"I had also told Patnaik to call for an all party meet so that politicians of different parties could be helpful in controlling the riot situation in Kandhamal. However, the chief minister tried to take into confidence neither the Cabinet nor the other political parties or politicians," Harichandan said.

The communal violence in Kandhamal continued for over a month only because of "bad handling" of the situation by the chief minister who also held home portfolio, the former Minister added.

"Harichandan was summoned by the Commission as he was a senior member of the BJD-BJP coalition government then. He replied on how the state government handled the Kandhamal situation," Justice Mohapatra told reporters.

Harichandan`s deposition will continue tomorrow.

Meanwhile, BJD has refuted the allegations made by the senior BJB leader against the CM.

“Why Harichandan did not bring the allegations while he was in power? And now when he is not in power such allegations made by him are irrelevant,” Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei said.