Tuesday, July 07, 2009

MLA fears Maoist fury

OUR CORRESPONDENT
Bhubaneswar, July 6: BJP MLA from G-Udayagiri, Manoj Pradhan today took his oath as a member of the Assembly.

Pradhan, who was released from the jail yesterday on a 15-day conditional bail, arrived at the Speaker’s office around 11.30am.

Soon after taking his oath, the MLA appealed to the Speaker to provide him security as he reportedly topped the Maoist hit list. So far, in G-Udaygiri, Naxalites have killed four RSS activists, besides eliminating VHP leader Laxamananda Saraswati and four of his associates.

The MLA was behind bars ever since his arrest on October 18, 2008, on charges of rioting and arson and was booked in 14 criminal cases, including seven charges of murder.

Earlier on Saturday, the court granted him bail on eight cases and conditional bail in six.

Talking to the media today Pradhan stressed upon his innocence and repeatedly said that he was not involved in any violence. “I never ventured out of my house during the riots and I do not know who filed the cases against me. The charges against me are false but I have complete trust in the judiciary and know that justice will be done,” said Pradhan.

He blamed the Naxalites of the murders of Swami Laxmananda and four of his associates at a Jalespeta ashram in August 2008. After Pradhan’s release, the leader reportedly first visited the ashram to offer his prayers.

When quizzed about the Kandhamal riots, Pradhan said peace would be possible in the block only when the government addresses the three main issues — land, fake certificate and conversion. Pradhan appealed to riot victims staying at relief camps to return home.

The MLA had fought and won the recent elections from behind bars defeating a senior Congress leader, Ajayanti Pradhan.

At the BJP state party office, senior party leaders K.V. Singhdeo, Jayanarayan Mishra, B.B. Harichandan and Panchanan Rout arranged a rousing reception for Pradhan.

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