M A I N   N E W S

Now, Kandhamal BJP candidate booked for hate speech 
Aditi Tandon writes from Kandhamal

After Pilibhit, it is the turn of Kandhamal in Orissa to gather some communal steam, with the district administration today slapping a criminal case against the local BJP candidate, charged with delivering a hate speech against Christians at an election rally in the already troubled Lok Sabha segment.

The development comes at a time when the security machinery in the area is working overtime to ensure peaceful poll in a constituency that saw 38 Christians murdered and thousands of displacements last August following the killing of local VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Former IPS officer and statewide president of Hindu Jagaran Samikhya — Ashok Sahu — BJP’s firebrand contestant from riot-hit Kandhamal, however, stoked the extinguished communal fire once again, when last Sunday he charged the Christians and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with the conspiracy to kill Saraswati.

Kandhamal district collector Krishan Kumar today confirmed to The Tribune that the administration had registered an FIR against Sahu under Section 153 (A) of the IPC and Section 125 of the Representation of People’s Act, for his hate speech. “He has been booked for his inflammatory remarks. The police is investigating the crime. We have handed over the CD to them.” Sahu is likely to be arrested soon.

The CD, in possession of The Tribune, has the BJP candidate openly accusing CM Naveen Patnaik, his political aide Pyaremohan Mahapatra and Rajya Sabha MP Radhakant Nayak, a Christian, for Saraswati’s August 23, 2007, killing which led to brutal violence in Kandhamal. Nayak and Mahapatra were both IAS officers of the same batch, he said, and went on.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Kandhamal a national shame and our Chief Minister did not react even once. I am a Hindu and will remain one. For me, Kandhamal is no shame; it is a symbol of Hindutva,” Sahu declared from the political stage in G. Udaygiri block, which saw the maximum anti-Christian violence last year.

Not stopping at that, the saffron brigade contestant, a first-timer in politics, accused Naveen Patnaik for Swami’s murder. “Naveen Patnaik, to create trouble in the BJP, got Swamiji killed. He was advised by his mentor Pyaremohan Mahapatra, a communist, and Radhakanta Nayak, a Christian, who is getting money from outside to damage Kandhamal’s culture. Nayak’s only mission is to convert tribals,” is what Sahu said on April 5 when he was to address a joint gathering in Kandhamal with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

While the latter’s plan was cancelled, Sahu kept spewing venom on Christians and Orissa CM whom he charged with “backstabbing the BJP”. The BJP leader also said in the speech that Hindus and the Hindu nation were under grave threat from the West.

“I am not afraid of the administration recording my speech. That will not make me change my words or stance,” Sahu dared the district authorities, who have ordered a 24-hour monitoring of his activities, along with those of Nakul Naik, the Samajwadi Party candidate for the Kandhamal parliamentary seat which goes to the polls on April 16. Naik was caught bribing voters in Raikia some days ago. Both Naik and Sahu have been listed by the Kandhamal authorities as “sensitive candidates”, who need constant monitoring. 



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