BJP’s Kandhamal candidate Ashok Sahu gets bail

Bhubaneswar, April 17 (Inditop) A district court Friday granted bail to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate from Kandhamal, Ashok Sahu who was arrested Tuesday for making inflammatory speeches in the region that witnessed widespread violence last year, a lawyer said.

“Jagajiban Patra, the Kandhamal district and session judge granted him (Sahu) bail on Rs.10,000 surety,” V.V. Ram Das, the government lawyer told IANS.

Sahu was arrested from Phulbani town, the district headquarter of Kandhamal, for violating the model code of conduct and creating caste and religious divide by making communally charged speeches April 5 at a public meeting in Raikia town.

He allegedly accused the church and some Christian leaders of indulging in conversion.

If proven guilty, Sahu could be jailed for at least three years.

“Sahu, who is now lodged in G. Udayagiri jail will, however, be released Saturday morning after completion of different procedures,” Das said.

Elections in the region were held Thursday in the first phase with over 50 percent voter turnout.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on Aug 23, 2008.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. More than 3,000 people are still living in government relief camps.