Fireband VHP leader Praveen Togadia, who was arrested while trying to enter riot-hit Kandhamal district despite prohibitory orders, was on Saturday released by Orissa Police.

“Togadia was released on a bond and he left for Bhanjanagar in Ganjam district,” Kandhamal SP Pravin Kumar said.

The VHP leader was arrested on Friday night under Section 151 of the CrPC when he tried to walk into Kandhamal, along with supporters.

Earlier the state government had put a ban on Mr. Togadia’s visit in view of the communally-fragile nature of the district, which had seen large-scale communal violence in the wake of killing of VHP leader Lakhsmananda Saraswati in August 2008.

Meanwhile, the district VHP unit of Kandhamal organised a 12—hour bandh protesting Mr. Togadia’s arrest.

While all shops and business establishments were closed, educational institutions and government offices functioned as usual, police said.

“We are not blocking roads and closing schools in view of the ongoing Annual High School Certificate examinations,” VHP state General Secretary Gouri Kumar Rath said.

Mr. Togadia, who started his three—day visit to Orissa on March 18, will leave for Andhra Pradesh after addressing rallies at Bhanjanagar and Berhampur.