VHP bandh turns violent in Orissa, churches attacked
- BHUBANESWAR: Orissa was on the boil on Monday during a bandh called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal in protest against the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda.
Protesters burnt alive a 20-year-old woman in an orphanage at Khuntpalli village in Bargarh district. In Kandhamal district, where the Swami and four others were killed by suspected Maoists on Saturday night, a villager was burnt to death.
Many churches, prayer houses and other Christian institutions were attacked in Kandhamal, Bargarh, Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Boudh, Sundargarh and Jajpur districts. At least two prayer houses were damaged in the capital city.
Director-General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda said the woman who was killed in the orphanage was a student. Asked whether the victim was a nun, he said it was yet to be ascertained.
As regards the death of a villager in Kandhamal, Mr. Nanda said the police had received information, but were yet to reach the spot.
Unconfirmed reports said the victim, Rasanand Pradhan, who was suffering from paralysis, could not escape when many houses in the Christian-majority village were set on fire.
Road and rail traffic was affected all over the State during the bandh. Banks, markets and business establishments remained closed, while government offices recorded thin attendance. Educational institutions were closed.
In the Assembly, the Naveen Patnaik government faced an embarrassing situation when Bharatiya Janata Party legislators trooped into the well and stalled the proceedings demanding the immediate arrest of those involved in the killing of the Swami.
Simultaneously, the Opposition Congress demanded a discussion on the �deteriorating� law and order situation. They demanded the resignation of the Biju Janata Dal-BJP coalition government for its failure to maintain law and order.
Speaker Kishore Kumar Mohanty adjourned the House for the day after he failed to persuade the BJP members to allow the proceedings to continue.
The Congress, however, gave notice for moving a no-confidence motion against the government on Tuesday.