Friday, June 05, 2009

'Kandhamal Maoists' threaten to kill G Udayagiri MLA

3 Jun 2009, 2312 hrs IST, Sandeep Mishra, TNN

BHUBANESWAR: Trouble seems unending for the top cops in Kandhamal district. Adding to their pressure triggered by gradual withdrawal of CRPF from
the region are certain posters threatening to eliminate MLA-elect of G Udayagiri Manoj Pradhan.

The posters, which were found pasted in riot-hit Raikia on Wednesday, reportedly contained death warnings for Pradhan, the main accused in last year's ethno-communal mayhem, and four other saffron activists. Though police is not yet sure as who has put up the posters, it is being suspected that Maoists could be behind it. Police sources, however, did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of mischief mongers.

"We have got information about such posters and are verifying it," Kandhamal SP Praveen Kumar said. According to police, they are trying to ascertain the authenticity of the posters as certain vested interest groups could be attempting to create fresh problems in the riot-ravaged region.

The development, incidentally, comes at a time when the BJP is making attempts to secure bail from the competent courts for Pradhan, who is incarcerated since mid-October.

Pradhan, who has been slapped with over a dozen cases ranging from murder to arson, is a believer in the hardcore brand of Hindutva and despite being in prison won the recent elections with consummate ease.

However, considering the spiral in Maoist activities especially since the gunning down of Hindu seer Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008, saffronites are worried over the safety in communally sensitive Kandhamal. "It is common knowledge that the extremists are openly opposing and threatening us. They have already killed some of our cadres during the past few months. We are perturbed over the developments," a saffron activist said. Cops, however, said they were doing all they can to salvage the situation and prevent violence in the district. "As of now we see no danger to Pradhan as he is in jail. We have intensified patrolling in sensitive locations," a cop said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Kandhamal residents under the Kuidina Forum for Peace and Justice met Governor M C Bhandare here and pressed for fresh assessment of human life and property damage during the riots, identification of missing persons and action against the perpetrators of violence. The CPI (M), too, demanded adequate central funds for the riot victims and continuance of CRPF personnel in the district till "the threat of communal violence exists".

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