Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

29 08 2008

August 28, 2008 17:38 IST
source: Rediff.com

Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?

Not the Maoists, everyone except some senior state government authorities maintain.

Even the top brass of the state police say it is improbable that Maoists were responsible for the murder of the Swami and four others at his remote ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Saturday night. A senior state police officer said the modus operandi of the murders do not provide substantial evidence that the Maoists may be involved.

Here are the facts of the murder after preliminary investigations:

  • On Saturday, the ashram was celebrating Janmashtami, when around dinner time, a group of 30-40 armed assailants surrounded the place.
  • Eyewitnesses said about four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had country made revolvers.
  • Two of the four home guards stationed for security had gone to eat and only two of them were guarding the premises.
  • The assailants tied down the two guards, and gagged them.
  • They then sought out the Swamiji within the premises and opened fire on him.
  • The recovered bullets show they were from an AK-47, the police said.
  • The assailants then warned the guards not to raise an alarm and fled the scene.

Within minutes of the reaching the crime scene, the district authorities made a statement saying it was suspected Maoists who killed the Swami.

“Isn’t it far fetched? District authorities blaming a particular outfit within minutes of arriving at a crime scene?” asked Ashok Sahu, a retired IPS officer, who specialises in left wing extremism.

There are two reasons given as to why the state could have taken the Maoist line. The first is obvious, observers say.

“In December 2007, the area witnesses some of the bloodiest violence Orissa has even seen after the Swami was attacked by Christians. The state might have wanted to avert a repeat of the communal clashes and therefore could have pinned the blame on the Maoists,” one of them said.

Sahu said there could be more to the government’s action than this.

“Elections are coming in a matter of months. The state has failed miserably in tackling the Maoist insurgency. A government that has been terrorised by the Maoists may in turn be trying to terrorise the people in the name of the Maoists” he said.

Why are so many people ready to debunk the government’s Maoist attack theory so readily? The main reason is modus operandi of the execution.

“The central committee authorises the killings and the outfit issues statements owning up to the murders they commit. So many days after the murder, there has been no statement from the Maoists,” a senior police officer said.

Sahu points out the following: “The five attackers who the locals caught and handed over to the police are not Maoists. They are from the region.

“Moreover, I see no reason why the Maoists will spare the policemen on duty. They would have killed them. Then, there are the leaflets that were thrown around the ashram in a very amateurish way. The Maoists are very organised. If somebody is carrying an AK-47 he must be at least a commander. And if there are four commanders to marshal the mob, there wouldn’t have been indiscriminate firing like what we saw. And last but not the least, I have never heard or seen Maoists wear masks and hoods.

“They see themselves as revolutionaries. They never care about whether they are seen or not. In fact, I would say, they would very much want to be seen,” Sahu said.

Then, the most important question? Did the Swami’s activities in the jungle in any way make him an enemy of the Maoists? “Chances are very less. He was working for the welfare of the tribal people and against forced conversions in the region. There is nothing that suggests the Maoists would see him as a class enemy,” a senior officer said.

A local outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch said the Swami had mentioned to an office bearer that some Maoists had joined him in a program he had organsied for the tribal people. “One day last year, I was talking to the Swami on phone, and that time there was a lot of concern about his security. So, he said, don’t you people worry. The Maoists are not a threat to me. In fact some of them are here with me,” said Lakshmikanth Das, an officer bearer of the HJM.

But do these factors clearly rule out the role of the Maoists? It is tricky, say many experts who have been following left wing extremism. “The best way this could be phrased is: ‘We do not rule out the involvement of the Maoists’.” Sahu said.

There are many reasons why the experts are undecided. “After the December 2007 clashes, even the Hindu outfits agreed that the Maoists are working in tandem with militant Christian outfits,”

Sahu agreed: “A lot of Maoists were converts to Christianity and were involved in the December violence. But this attack does not look like their work,” Sahu said.

The Maoists have long claimed that most of Orissa falls under the ‘liberated zone’. Kandhamal district with its desnse forest cover is a haven for them. In fact, the police had claimed that the recent attack on a police party in Nayagarh, where the Maoists dealt a spectacular blow to the Orissa police, was planned and coordinated from Kandhamal.

If not the Maoists, who could have killed the Swami? The needle of suspicion swings towards the militant Christian outfits. “Let’s face it, said Sahu, “even in times when the Maoist-militant Christian nexus was a possibility, there were numerous attacks and attempts on the Swami’s life.”

“There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

“The government’s responsibility to bring those responsible to book increases when you take into account the fact that the Swami received an anonymous threat only a week before he was killed. The local SP did not even register a case after the Swami lodged a formal complaint. They have to answer a lot of questions or this issue will snowball into a bigger issue than the December violence,” Das concluded.

The onus now rests on the government, which has been boxed in from almost all sides.

It has been shown up with regards to tackling Maoists, with consecutive attacks. It’s inadequacy in putting a lid on communal tension in Kandhamal have been exposed by the on-going violence in the district. And with elections looming, how it tackles the current crisis will go a long way in deciding its political future.

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Naxals Attack Spiritual guru:: Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, 4 others killed in grenade attack in Orissa

24 08 2008

Source: Odissatoday.com
Bhubaneswar ( Orissa) :
In a sensational incident Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his close aids have been killed in a grenade attack by the suspected Maoists at around 9 PM at Jalaspotta Ashram, in Tumudi Bandh area in the tribal dominated district of Kandhamal in Southern Orissa on Saturday night.

According to the sources the suspected Maoist have hurled grenade on the Ashram resulting killing of five persons including Ashram chief, Swami Laxmananand Saraswati.

The other victims include two inmates of the ashram and all the victims have dead at the spot.

RSS has decided to block all NH running through the Orissa as mark of protest over the killing on Saturday night, sources said.

Meanwhile RDC Southern range Satyabrta Sahu, DIG Southern range, RP Kothe have rushed to the spot as the tension flare up in the district following this incident.

Additional security forces 12 CRPF platoon have also been moved to the spot to prevent any unpleasant incident in the district.

According to the sources in the police administration, the Orissa DG Gopal Nanda directly monitoring the whole situation.

Meanwhile in yet another significant development highly placed sources in the VHP says that VHP and other saffon outfits have called a emergency meeting at undisclosed place to decide future action over this issue.

VHP and other saffron partied have called a dawn to dush Bandh on Monday protesting the brutal killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati.

It may be noted here that the tribal dominated Southern district of Orissa has been under serious tension since Hindu and Christians clashed each other on December 25, 2007 in Phulbani district.

Since then, Central Para Military Forces have been camping at Kandhamal. Orissa Government has constituted a judicial commission under Justice Basudev Panigrahi to probe the December communal clash.

In protest against the attack on saint and illegal beef trading, members of RSS, Viswa Hindu Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party led by Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati blocked the roads and demanding action against the accused.

Swami demanded a high level probe into illegal beef trading in Kandhamal. VHP has also called Kandhamal bandh on Wednesday over this issue.





FACT update

21 08 2007

This is an update on FACT. After the successful Kashmiri Pandits’ exhibition, which at the moment has been translated in Mahratti and is being shown in villages of Maharashtra, another exhibition/symposium on the persecution of Hindus, Christians and Buddhists in Bangladesh was inaugurated in Mumbai on 18th November 2006 by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in the presence of many terrorist experts, such KPS Gill, B. Raman, Brahma Chellaney and delegates from Bangladesh invited by FACT.

A path-breaking painting exhibition on “Aurangzeb as he was according to Moghol records“ was shown in Delhi’s Habitat Centre in February this year, in G gallery Bangalore in April and is now slated to be exhibited in Pune in August and then Mumbai. A film on the condition of Brahmans and Other Upper Castes has been made (it is posted on U Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Xgc4ljHKM and it will be followed by an exhibition and a book. We have also initiated a show Shivaji which will be completed at the end of the year. FACT has embarked as well on a project to do two exhibitions: one on the 1947 Holocaust of Hindus and Sikhs and the second on the rise of Sikhism as a defender of the Hindu Dharma. FACT plans to bring out audio CD’s on all these subjects to educate people. We have already brought one on the Kashmiri Pandits’ issue, another one on the victims of the Bombay train blasts and of course, a third one on Brahmins and OUC.

But overall FACT has an ultimate goal: To build an Indian Holocaust museum. India has terribly suffered in the last fifteen centuries at the hands of invaders, be they Muslims, Christians, or even Chinese recently. No nation can move forward, unless it faces squarely its past. As His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, pointed out recently, “ the courage to remember, helps us not to repeat the same mistakes and to build a better future for our children ”. Hence, FACT would like to build an Indian museum where all the atrocities committed against Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians, will be depicted, but also where all the greatness of India, past, present and future will be projected. We have been donated a small piece of land in Pune near the airport and this is where we plan the museum. For all this noble endeavours, we solicit your help and support. FACT India is a registered Trust with tax exemption. If your donation is in Indian rupees, you can make a cheque in the name of FACT and mail it to

François Gautier,
Auromodel,
Auroville,
Tamil Nadu,
(via Pondichery) 605101,
India.

If it is in $, £, or €, you can make it in the name of François Gautier, specifying in an accompanying letter for which project it is meant. I will transfer the rupees in the FACT account which is Canara Bank, Pondichery a/c N° is 27147.

Thanks so much