Celebrations coincide with fifth death anniversary of Lakshmanananda

Security remained tight throughout Kandhamal district for Janmashtami on Wednesday. Police was on high alert in the district as Janmashtami celebrations also coincided with ritualistic observation of fifth death anniversary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, who was murdered along with his four associates at his Jalaspata Ashram. His murder had occurred on the night of Janmashtami which had fallen on Aug 23 in 2008. It had triggered a large-scale communal violence throughout Kandhamal and some other parts of the State.

No untoward incidents were reported from any part of the district till evening. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police, southern range, Amitabh Thakur said apart from enhancement security, leaders of all communities in Kandhamal district were taken into confidence for the purpose.

This has reduced chances of untoward incidents with the hint that normalcy is returning back to Kandhamal, he said.

To check any mischievous attempt by unscrupulous elements deployment of security personnel had been enhanced in the district. One platoon of extra force had been deployed in each police station of the district. Two platoons of extra police force had been deployed at Jalaspata, where the VHP leader had been killed and at Chakapada, where his ‘samadhi’ was located. All religious institutions in the district were provided armed security. Patrolling was intensified and all vehicles entering Kandhamal and its sensitive areas were thoroughly checked.

The VHP activists and supporters of Swami Lakshmanananda started ritualistic memorial services for their slain leader along with Janmashtami observation at Chakapada and Jalaspata ashrams from early morning. Kirtans, yagna and other rituals marked the day at Chakapada. Around 2,000 people had gathered up at Chakapada for these observations. Celebrations were low key at Jalaspata, where school children of the residential school in the ashram where the VHP leader had been slain took part in a memorial meeting.