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Naxals attack ashram in Orissa, kill 5

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 23, 2008 23:46 IST
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Suspected Naxals on Saturday night gunned down at least five persons at an ashram for girls in Orissa's Kandhmal district. Prominent Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Laxmananda Saraswati could be among the dead.

"I have received reports of five deaths. However, I have to re-check before confirming the death of Laxmananda Saraswati," Deputy General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda told PTI.

However, according to Subhash Chouhan, the national convenor of Bajrang Dal, Laxmanananda was among the five persons killed in the incident.

The victims include two inmates of the ashram, Chouhan said.

The incident took place at Laxmananda's kanyashram at Tumudibandh, about 100 km from Phulbani, the district headquarters of Kandhmal district.

A group of nearly 30 armed Naxals attacked the ashram, said an eyewitness. The killing triggered panic across Kandhmal district.

Home Secretary T K Mishra asked the Centre to rush two additional battalions of paramilitary forces to the tribal-dominated and communally sensitive Kandhmal district to deal with any eventuality.

"I spoke to the union Home Secretary to rush additional forces and allow extension of the stay of seven companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, which had been deployed in the district since December, 2007 when communal violence had broken out there," he said.

Meanwhile, Sangh Parivar's Vishwa Sambad Kendra, Orissa, has claimed a letter threatening to abduct Laxmananda Saraswati had been received at his main ashram at Chakapada in Kandhmal district.

The letter was posted on August 9 and received at the ashram on August 22, the Kendra claimed in a statement adding that a complaint in this regard was lodged at Tumudibandha police station.

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