Respected Hindu leader brutally murdered. Ashram attacked. Woman Sannyasin Maa Bhaktimayi with three others also killed. Locals stunned. Observe statewide bandh.
At last, Christian missionaries succeeded in their notorious plan by killing Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in cold blood and removed the main obstacle in their path for spreading Christianity in Orissa. The news of Swamiji'sassassination has stunned the entire state and people spontaneously took to the streets protesting this gruesome violence committed by the Christian goons on the eve of holy Janmashtami celebrations. Swamiji, who spread awareness about the menace of proselytisation and created panic among the Christian missionaries through his number of socio-cultural, religious, and humanistic programmes, got a painful, gruesome and inhuman death as evangelical terrorists pumped five bullets into his body. The state government failed to protect the precious life of Swamiji, even after repeated attacks on him.
This shocking incident occurred in Swamiji'sashram at Jaleshapatta in Kandhamal district of Orissa on the eve of Janmashtami. The ashram was glittering with light and was in a festive mood to celebrate Sri Krishna'sbirthday. At about 8 pm Swami Laxmanananda was busy in performing rituals inside his hut, when a group of Christian goons suddenly entered into it with sophisticated arms and ammunition and fired on him from AK-47 and SLR rifles and killed him on the spot. They also killed four other persons including three sadhus, when they came to protect Swamiji from these murderers. Swamiji'sdisciple Sadhvi Mata Bhaktimayee, Madhab Baba, Kishor Baba and a local villager were shot dead by the miscreants. The joyful Janmashtami celebrations in the ashram turned into a funeral cry. According to eyewitnesses, all the murderers had their faces covered with masks and were talking to each other in the local language. The inmates of the ashram knew nothing about the attack as it was made suddenly. Sabita Kanhar, a student of class IX who is staying in the kanyashram, said: ?We were chanting hymns and reading the Srimadbhagvat. At around 8 pm, we heard the sound of explosions inside the ashram. We thought it would be the sound of mere fire crackers used by other inmates to celebrate the occasion. At that time Swamiji was in his room. He was preparing to come to the utsav mandap. But we heard the voices of other sannyasis. They were shouting. We peeped into the room of Swamiji and saw that he was lying dead on the floor with others. There was blood everywhere inside the room.? Similarly another eyewitness namely Sankar Baba said: ?Swamiji was very affectionate towards all. When he was in his room, an unknown person came to meet him. Swamiji offered him sweets. I left the place and went towards puja mandap. The two home guard jawans deployed for security, had gone to take their dinner. In the mean time, the Christian attackers rushed into the ashram and killed Swamiji, Mataji and others. Adequate police protection was not there. The home guard jawans deployed here had no ammunition except some bamboo batons. The attackers killed all and escaped safely.?
Government failed to provide security
Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was well known as a crusader against the missionary activities in Orissa for decades. Therefore, he was attacked by Christian goons 10 times in the past. Recently he was attacked and injured by missionaries on December 24, 2007 and one of his disciples was also injured by the Christian attackers on July 8, 2008. But the state government did precious little to save the life of this 84-year-old Swami. He was not provided with adequate security even after his repeated request to the government for the same. According to his followers like Shri Kabichandra Nath, Swamiji himself and his followers had lodged at least a dozen complaints regarding the lack of security of his ashram. Swamiji also at different times gave hints even in press conferences in the state capital regarding threats to his life and demanded a quick action against the Christian terrorists who were after his life. The state government did not take any prompt step to save Swamiji. All that government did, was providing the deployment of one police constable and two home guards having only lathis in their hands. In the previous 10 attacks, he escaped fortunately but this time his foes succeeded in killing him. On that fateful night, Swamiji had returned from Cuttack after attending a rally over the Amarnath issue and was preparing to perform his puja. Prior to four days of this incident, Swamiji had received a threatening letter by post in which he was informed that his ashram was going to be attacked and he would be kidnapped shortly. After receiving this letter, Swamiji'sdisciple, the late Mata Bhaktimayee lodged an FIR in Tumudibandh Police Station regarding the same and requested for additional security. But the police did nothing on the FIR. The police knew it better that Swamiji was at gunpoint and his ashram is not very far from Brahmanigaon, Daring Badi?the centre of the missionary activities in Kandhamal district. It is pertinent to mention here that in Daring Badi Swamiji was attacked by the Christian goons in the last December. Arms and ammunition were seized from that village. But the administration did not care for this and at last Swamiji became a victim of this gross negligence. In the present attack, about 20 sophisticated guns were used including AK-47. It is a big question mark as to how the police could not get the prior information regarding this? Why did they not entertain and acted upon the FIR lodged by Swamiji?
After the incident, the state government aired a statement that the Maoist ultras have killed Swami Laxmanananda. Shri G.C. Nanda, the DGP, repeatedly said that this gruesome murder might be committed by the red ultras. Hindu Jagaran Samukshya said in a statement: ?There was a meeting at Raikia Community Centre on the August 9, 2008 attended by many Christian militants representing NGOs and persons like Nakul Nayak, the ex-Member of Parliament and Krishna Padseth, the ex-chairman of the block from Tumudibandh. The conspiracy to kill Swami Laxmanananda was hatched in the meeting and on August 13, a threatening letter was circulated to the district and state authorities along with copies to Swamiji. On August 22, Swamiji appealed to the
District Magistrate to enhance his personal security.? The similar allegation has been made by VHP. Its state working president Dr. Umesh Patri said: ?There was a meeting at Kulmaha village near Tumudibandh on August 9, 2008. This was attended by John Dayal, spokesman of All India Christian Council, and Arch Bishop of Bhubaneswar Raphel Chinath. John Dayal was in the state for the last 15 days. Swami returned from Cuttack on August 22, 2008. In a well-planned way he was assassinated on August 23, 2008. Swamiji was like a God to the locals. The day when Sri Krishna was born Swamiji was assassinated. Is this a Janmashtami present by the Christians to the Hindu community? The Christian missionaries are mistaken that they have achieved their goal.?
The fact that the Christian missionaries killed Swamiji and his disciples again becomes clear from the prima facie investigation conducted by police. Now, the police finds ammunition from the alleged Christian goons. The police has arrested one Pradesh Kumar Das from Khadagpur, an employee of World Vision, a Christian Charity, while escaping from the district. In another drive, two other persons namely Vikram Diggal and William Diggal, have been arrested from the house of Lal Diggal, a local militant Christian at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. They have reportedly confessed before the police that they attacked and killed Swamiji along with 28 other assailants, all are Christians.
It is a well-known fact that the Naxals generally attack such rich people who possess much money, property or ammunition. In order to snatch them away from them, Naxals make them target. But Swami Laxmanananda who dedicated his entire life for the poor, downtrodden, Harijans and Vanvasis did possess nothing so valuable, then why would the Naxals attack him? Naxals have no business with religious matters. All the previous 10 attacks were made by the Christians, not by Naxals. It will not be out of place to mention here that in 2006, in an interview with this correspondent Swamiji had narrated about some true incidents how Naxals used to come to his reformation programmes and attend his religious, cultural programmes. Swamiji had no rivalry with Naxals. Hence the government'sNaxal attack plea is not at all believable.
Grand funeral procession
The people of Kandhamal paid their heartiest tribute to Swami Laxmanananda in a spectacular manner as if he was their father and mother, very caring for their needs. The common people participated massively in the funeral procession. It was brought to the Chakapad ashram, where Swamiji had been doing his rashtra sadhna since last 40 years. His mortal body was cremated in the ashram premises following traditional rituals. His body was given sthala samadhi in his ashram garden, where Swamiji taught various methods of advanced organic agriculture to Vanvasis. VHP'sInternational General Secretary Dr. Praveen Togadia attended the funeral along with Parishad'sleader Dr. Ramvilas Vedanti, Shri Y. Raghaballu, Shri Balakrishna Naik. Sah Kshetriya Pracharak Shri Ajit Prashad Mohapatra, Prant Pracharak Shri Jagadish Khadanga, Shri Rajendra Madala of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Shri Gouri Prasad Rath, Shri Tanmay Mohapatra, Shri Deepak Rout, Dr. Pramod Acharya, Dr. Basanta Rath, Shri Subas Chouhan of VHP, Minister Shri Golok Bihary Nayak, Smt. Surama Padhy and other karyakartas of Sangh parivar were present in the funeral ceremony.
Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati has expressed his deep condolence and strong reaction against the gruesome murder of Swami Laxmanananda. In his message he said: ?Laxmanananda was a great saint who worked for the protection of dharma and betterment of the poor people. He was a fearless saint who never compromised on truth and dharma. I am deeply pained over his unfortunate death. The state government failed to protect him from the attack of Christian missionaries. I believe that there is an international conspiracy behind this murder. It is a matter of great sorrow that the BJP people in the coalition government did nothing for Swamiji'sprotection, though they were always blessed by him.?
The Gajapati Maharaj of Orissa Shri Dibya Singha Dev has also expressed his reaction over Swamiji'smurder. ?The revered Swamiji had been working for the poor Vanvasis in Kandhamal district since last 40 years. He was the sole torch-bearer of Sanatan Dharma in the Vanvasi districts of the state. I had good relationship with Swamiji and I am deeply inspired by his divine qualities. His murder is very unfortunate. We lost a great saint who dedicated all his sadhnas and sidhhis for the service of the people. His precious life could have been saved if the government had taken appropriate measures for his protection. A proper probe should be conducted into his murder and government'sfailure to provide him adequate security.?
VHP'sInternational General Secretary Dr. Praveen Togadia fired heavy shells at the state government for its failure to provide protection to Swamiji. The government is in the mood to appease the Christian Community in the state, he said.