Hindu groups call off Christmas shutdown in India's Orissa state
Hindu groups have called off their proposed general strike in India's eastern state of Orissa on Christmas Day, news reports said Saturday.
The decision was taken after the state government assured the groups that it will soon arrest those involved in the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) leader Laxmananda Saraswati in August, the NDTV network reported.
"The shutdown was called off after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assured us in a meeting that all the killers and conspirators involved in the crime will be arrested shortly," said Ratnakar Chaini, a Hindu leader associated with the council.
The state's central Kandhamal district witnessed widespread anti-Christian violence after the killing of Saraswati, who led a campaign against conversion to Christianity in the region.
Although Maoist militants operating in the area claimed responsibility for the killing, fanatical Hindu groups suspecting involvement of Christians in the attack targeted the religious minority.
Nearly 40 people, mostly Christians, were killed in the Hindu-Christian violence that continued over two months.
Christian community leaders said they feared further attacks following the call for the shutdown to demand the arrest of those involved in the killing.
The police have arrested seven people in the crime and said others would be apprehended soon. Patnaik earlier announced that he will not allow the general strike and would ensure that Christmas celebrations proceed peacefully, reported dpa.