New Delhi: Under fire over his handling of communal violence, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday sought to describe the Bajrang Dal and the VHP as fundamentalist organisations.

Though he earlier accepted that many members from the twin organisations were arrested for violence against Christians in the State, he refused to acknowledge the outfits as extremist.

“I want to correct myself here. I said fundamentalist and not extremist organisations,” Mr. Patnaik told NDTV when asked to clarify whether he views them as extremist outfits.

Mr. Patnaik defended the State government’s role in the whole episode saying, “My government has arrested people who have indulged in violence and, certainly, stringent action will be taken against all those who break the law.”

Refuting the charge that the BJD-BJP government was acting in complicity with the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, Mr. Patnaik referred to the arrest of members of both the organisations and said, “every bone in my body is secular.” — PTI