Special Correspondent

Days of religious festivals of every community should be days of amity and goodwill: Naveen

Chief Minister replying to a debate on the Kandhamal issue in Assembly

‘Seven arrested by Crime Branch in connection with murder of VHP leader’

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday told the State Assembly that his government would not permit any bandh in the State on the Christmas Day.

Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Shradhanjali Samiti, an outfit of the Sangh Parivar, had given a call to observe a Statewide bandh on December 25 if the government failed to arrest the killers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda by December 15.

Replying to a debate on the Kandhamal issue in the State Assembly, Mr. Patnaik said the government will come down heavily on anyone who tried to create any violence.

“Days of religious festivals of every community should be days of amity and goodwill,” Mr. Patnaik said in his statement.

“Orissa has a long history of communal harmony and peace. Let not the shocking and tragic incidents of communal violence that took place in December last year and August this year ever be repeated again,” Mr. Patnaik said.

The Chief Minister had earlier said that there should not be any bandh in the State on Christmas Day, but the Samiti had reiterated it stand saying that it will go ahead with the bandh plan if the government failed to arrest the killers and conspirators behind the murder of the VHP leader.

The Chief Minister informed the House that seven persons had already been arrested by the Crime Branch of the State police in connection with the murder of the VHP leader.