After ensuring peaceful Janmashtami, the district police of Kandhamal on Sunday stepped up security as on this day last year Laxmananda Saraswati, a Hindu right-wing leader, was killed along with four of his associates at his ashram, sparking communal violence.

“The Hindu groups have already celebrated the anniversary of Swami Laxmananda. But according to the Christian calendar, the anniversary date falls today. Keeping in view Ganesh Puja celebration and Sunday mass today, we have stepped up security in the district,” Kandhamal Superintendent of Police Pravin Kumar said.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to thwart any untoward incident on Sunday. Fifty platoons of police, including Central Reserve Police Force, were deployed in the district.

Security has been beefed up outside churches, temples and other religious places. Additional forces have been deployed at various locations to check incoming vehicles.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram August 23.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held them responsible for Saraswati’s killing although the police blamed Maoist rebels. Even Maoists owned the killings later.

However, no violence has been reported from the district since October last year.

Keywords: Orissa