Bhubaneswar: Firebrand VHP leader Praveen Togadia was on Friday night arrested along with his supporters by the Orissa Police as they tried to enter riot-hit Kandhamal district, defying a ban on their visit.
Togadia, who arrived at Charichowk in Boudh district, neighbouring Kandhamal, was held under Section 151 of the CrPc when they tried to walk into Kandhamal district despite a ban, police said.
After they were asked not to proceed to the district, they initially held a sit-in protest at Charichowk.
The VHP leader is now lodged at the forest inspection bungalow at Charichowk, Lambodar Buda, Inspector-in-charge of Boudh police station, said.
Earlier, the district administration deployed police and a magistrate at the entry point to the riot-hit town, after Togadia announced that he would defy the Orissa Government's ban on his visit to the area which had seen large scale communal violence in the wake of killing of VHP leader Lakhsmananda Saraswati in August 2008.
Terming the ban as "illegal and undemocratic", Togadia had said it was not fair on part of the government to put a restriction on his visit when they recently allowed European diplomats to make a two-day tour to the communally-sensitive district.
The state government has also imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC on the movement of Togadia and other VHP functionaries in Kandhamal.