Bhubaneswar: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia, who was arrested late on Friday for attempting to enter Orissa's Kandhamal district, was released early on Saturday, police said.
Togadia was stopped at Charichhak in Boudh district as he tried to head to Kandhamal, which had witnessed large-scale communal violence last year, despite a ban imposed by the district administration on his entry.
Protesting the move, Togadia squatted on the road along with his supporters against the government's move, asking why he could not enter Kandhamal when an European delegation was allowed to visit the district.
Police then arrested the right-wing leader, who was lodged at a government guest house located nearby. 'He was released on personal bond early on Saturday,' a district police official said.
After his release, Togadia left for neighbouring Ganjam district, where he was scheduled to attend several programmes of the VHP. The VHP has called 12-hour shutdown in Kandhamal on Saturday, protesting the government's move but police said it had not affected normal life.
'There has been no impact of the bandh call...government and private establishments, schools and colleges are functioning as usual in the district,' said Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar.
The Kandhamal district administration had banned Togadia's entry fearing that his visit may disturb peace in the region, where at least 38 people, mostly Christians, were killed in months of communal violence following the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on Aug 23, 2008.