Finally a tiny piece of ‘objective’ news as a consolation for justice to Hindus. 

BUT, imagine what the coverage would have been if it was seven Hindus convicted for the murder of a Christian pastor …….. 

Seven convicted for Laxmanananda murder of 2008

IANS Sep 30, 2013, 10.33PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: A court in Odisha Monday held seven people guilty of the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his aides in Kandhamal district of Odisha in 2008, a lawyer said Monday.

Special additional district session Judge R.K. Tose pronounced the verdict in his court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, prosecution lawyer Bhagaban Mohanty told IANS.

 The quantum of sentence would be pronounced Oct 3, he said.

Those convicted were Duryodhan Suna Majhi, Munda Bada Majhi, Sanatan Bada Majhi, Garnatha Chalanseth, Bijay Kumar Samseth, Bhaskar Suna Majhi and Budhadev Nayak.

The convicts were part of a mob of about 50 people who had attacked the swami and his aides, the lawyer said.

All of the convicts are Christians and they had committed the crime because according to them the swami was forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism, the lawyer said.

Two of the men were convicted under the Indian Arms Act, 1959, for possession of illegal guns, the lawyer said. “The judge convicted them purely on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the deposition of witnesses,” said lawyer Mohanty.

Saraswati and four of his aides were killed at his ashram at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal district Aug 23, 2008. The killing triggered communal violence in the state, in which at least 38 people were killed.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for the murders. Police, however, blamed the murders on the Maoists.

Police arrested seven people and filed a charge sheet against them in January 2009.

The crime branch subsequently arrested two more people, including Maoist leader Polari Rama Rao. It also filed a supplementary charge sheet in 2011 against them and five others, including Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, who are still absconding.

The court is scheduled to pronounce its judgment on the second charge sheet Tuesday.

The BJP welcomed the decision.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashok Sahu said: “We welcome the court’s verdict. The investigation should continue till all the conspirators are nabbed.”

“A criminal has to be punished whichever religion he belongs to. The moment he commits a crime he loses his religion,” Orissa Minority Forum president Swarupananda Patra told IANS.

Accusation of rape and specially gang-rape gives an immediate and almost ‘perverted’ sensationalization, specially if the victim is a nun. This art has been mastered as a weapon, quite aptly by Christian groups, against Hindus, who try to fight against the unethical and illegal conversion attempts and other evangelical atrocities of the harvestors of souls, that includes murder of  religious figures.

It is almost a warning to protesting Hindus, “Do not fight us or else we will invent a gangrape of a nun”.

One may recall the Jhabua nun-rape case, where the knee jerk repsonse was that it must be the handiwork of the majority community, the Hindu fundamentalists, backed by every organization that works for the cause of Hindus in this land. Later it was found that the four Christian tribal nuns were raped by a group of  people consisting mostly of Christian men.

Off course the media gets almost an erotic pleasure in ‘selectively reporting’ and ‘investigating’ such false accusations. The ignorant Hindus, trusting these media reports and investigations, hang their head in shame. The desired damage is effectively done. Lies and deceptive propagandas make their lasting effects on gullible minds. Who cares if truth is sacrificed.

And when the truth does comes out their is never an apology rendered to those who are falsely accused. 

By then, the liars are planning to hatch the next ‘rape-case’. 

 

A conspiracy unravels

Sandhya Jain

Was the alleged rape of a nun, following the assassination of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four sanyasis in Kandhamal on Krishna Janmasthami, August 23, 2008, an afterthought by missionaries targeted by enraged Hindus? Was it a planned vengeance, aimed at garnering the international spotlight and forcing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to break his alliance with the BJP, which empathised with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s anger at the murder of its octogenarian leader?

The questions are legitimate given Fr Thomas Chellan’s admission in court on July 26 that he did not report the alleged rape of the nun when filing the first information report with the police on August 26, 2008. The Baliguda Catholic Church pastor, a key witness in the case, admitted during cross-examination before Cuttack district and sessions judge Bira Kishore Mishra that he had not mentioned the alleged rape in the FIR filed a day after the incident is said to have occurred. His complaint caused the arrest of 23 people.

The alleged rape of the 29-year-old nun from Sambalpur is said to have occurred on August 25 in Kandhamal district, a day after agitated Hindus went on the rampage to protest the gunning down of Swami Laxmanananda and his disciple-monks in the precincts of his own ashram. Swami Laxmanananda had previously escaped several attempts on his life and had received death threats from missionaries infuriated by his anti-conversion activities.

The nun worked at Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre at K Nugaon block. She was reportedly dragged out of a retired head clerk’s house by 40-odd armed men who chanted “Bharat Mata ki Jai,” taken to the office of an NGO, Jan Vikash, where one man allegedly raped her. At that time, 12 policemen of the Odisha State Armed Police were camping in a school in front of the NGO’s office. The nun identified the main accused as Santosh Patnaik, alias Mitu.

Fr Chellan was reportedly beaten and paraded half-naked on the road the same day. He identified two accused in court as being part of the mob that attacked his church, but had failed to identify either man during the test identification parade held at Choudwar jail last year. The case was initially committed to a fast-track court in Kandhamal that was trying all riot cases, but was transferred to a sessions court in Cuttack after the nun petitioned that she felt unsafe in Kandhamal. (This is now the standard refrain in all anti-Hindu cases; Gujarat’s former Minister Amit Shah is only the latest victim.)

Interestingly, Dr Chotray Marandia, who first treated the nun after the alleged assault-cum-rape, testified on August 28 that she had only complained of swelling on her face. “I only treated the swelling on her face and she did not complain of anything else,” he replied when asked by defence lawyers about other injuries on her body. So we have no evidence of rape.

The then block development officer, Mr BB Mishra, testified that he had accompanied the nun and priest to the local police station to file their complaint about the mob attack. Both thus had full official protection while filing the complaint, and cannot claim that the police did not record the FIR properly, or that the rape charge was ignored by the police. These testimonies are damning.

That the rape is most likely a fabrication can be seen from the nervousness of the prosecution. Earlier, her lawyers had sought a month’s time for the nun to appear before the court. This is suspicious to say the least, but fits in with the church’s hiding the nun from the local people and producing a veiled woman with a thick Malayalam accent at a Press conference in Delhi. Interestingly, last Saturday the nun failed to identify the key accused at a test identification parade.

The Church-prosecution embarrassment has been aggravated by the June 12 arrest of Pandit Bishimajhi for allegedly plotting to kill the nun and priest to prevent them from testifying against the mob. It was alleged that Bishimajhi led several mob attacks, one of which stripped and paraded the nun and Fr Chellan, and is thus complicit in the fast-disintegrating rape case.

It may be appropriate to put the anti-missionary violence in context. The Kandhamal violence erupted after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda, whose tireless efforts to uplift the tribal communities and protect their religion and culture against aggressive proselytisation infuriated the evangelists and Maoist goons (mostly converts). The Swami was severely injured in an attack on Christmas eve in 2007, and had then accused a Congress MP and World Vision chief for the attack. He alleged a nexus between Maoist terrorists and missionaries; which is why when Maoists claimed responsibility for the killings, public ire was directed at the missionaries. Certainly the murders had a purely religious motivation; Odisha has in recent years seen an influx of rich American Baptists for soul-harvesting purposes.

Beginning on December 26, 1970, Swami Laxmanananda was attacked eight times before he was finally struck down by AK-47-wielding assailants in 2008, according to the fact-finding commission chaired by Additional Advocate-General of Rajasthan, GS Gill. Soon after the multiple murders in the ashram, the State police arrested World Vision employee Pradesh Kumar Das while escaping from the district. Later, two men, Vikram Digal and William Digal, were arrested from the house of a local militant Christian, Lal Digal, at Nugaon; they admitted having joined a group of 28 assailants. Then, in July 2009, a Maoist couple, Surendra Vekwara and Ruby, also allegedly involved in the killings, surrendered to the Odisha Police. One does not know how the State Government intends to prosecute the cases against these persons, especially as the sensational rape case is silently falling apart.

However, as I have previously argued, the murder of Swami Laxmanananda closely resembles the murder of Swami Shanti Kaliji Maharaj in Tripura in August 2000. The latter was also shot in his own ashram by gun-wielding goons after several dire warnings against his anti-conversion activities in the tribal belt were ignored. Swami Laxmanananda’s murder prompted Biju Janata Dal MP Tathagata Satpathy to insist that there was an urgent need for an anti-conversion legislation as aggressive proselytisation was hurting the social fabric.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati had, just before his murder, demanded a national debate on conversions and an end to the foreign funding of NGOs. This is an urgent imperative.

Also read:

Christian lies and deceptions in Khandamal, Orissa

Kandhamal, Orissa: more lies nailed

Will the church and the Christian leaders including the French president and the Vatican Chief apologise? Will the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh undo his ‘national shame’ statement?

 

Kandhamal lies nailed


Saswat Panigrahi

Media and ‘secular’ political parties followed the Church in blaming ‘Hindu groups’ for last year’s violence in Kandhamal district of Orissa. The interim report of the Justice Mohapatra Commission of Inquiry nails this and other lies and exposes the role of evangelists.

Remember Kandhamal? And all the brouhaha created by the media blaming ‘Hindu groups’ for the unrest in the tribal district of Orissa after the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati? And the TV cameras never noticing the anguish of the shocked children housed in Jaleshpata hermitage that witnessed the murder of the 84-year-old Swami and his four followers on August 23 last year?

Well, the truth is almost out; and it’s official. It virtually vindicates an article published on this page last year (November 11): “The other side of the Kandhamal story: Tribals disinherited.” It had laid threadbare the social and cultural divisions between the Kandha and the Pana communities, and how Christian evangelists were fuelling the violence in Kandhamal.

The Kandhas, who are tribals, were up in arms against the Panas, listed as one of the Scheduled Castes, for trying to usurp their land and corner other benefits with the help of some evangelists.

Recently, the Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra Commission, whose remit was to probe the Kandhamal violence, has submitted its interim report to the Home Department of the Orissa Government. The commission, headed by Justice Mohapatra, a former Lok Pal, has attributed the socio-economic problems as the prime provocation for the violence. The report says nothing about the much-touted ‘Hindu-groups’.

“The violence in Kandhamal was the result of concentrated discontentment prevailing among the people since long. They relate to conversion, re-conversion; land-grabbing and non-maintenance of land records; and fake certificate issues,” Justice Mohapatra told this writer. Though he refused to elaborate on who these “discontented” people are, it is obvious that they are the tribals — the Kandhas.

Putting to rest all debate about rampant religious conversion in Kandhamal, Justice Mohapatra says: “In spite of the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, illegal conversions were taking place, which created discontentment.”

It is important here to get an overview of the social and cultural divisions that are understood to be the main reasons of the violence in Kandhamal. The area has two major inhabitants — the tribal Kandhas constitute 52 per cent of the population while the Schedule Caste Panas account for 19 per cent of the population. The rift between the two is nothing new. The Kandhas have a history of vociferous resistance to religious conversion by evangelists. On the other hand, over the years, a majority of the Panas, forced by the evangelists, has embraced Christianity, leading to an increase in the Christian population of the district from a mere 19,128 in 1951 to 1,17,950 in 2001. Of the total Christian population in the district, 60 per cent are converted Panas.

After successfully converting a sizeable section of the Panas, evangelists have long been eying the Kandhas for conversion. They have been trying to convert the tribals through inducement, fraud and force and have succeeded to some extent. They continue to destroy the traditional shrines of the Kandhas, thus instigating anti-Hindu sentiments among the Panas. This has repeatedly led to communal polarisation.

Nine months after it was asked to inquire into last year’s violence and the circumstances leading to the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, the Justice Mohapatra Commission seems to have made some headway.

It is learned that the 28-page report says land is being grabbed illegally by the Panas. It’s a fact that a section of the Panas has encroached upon vast stretches of land which originally belongs to the Kandhas. As per the land regulation law of Orissa, non-tribals can neither buy nor take possession of land from tribal owners.

Besides the issues of conversion and land-grab, Justice Mohapatra’s report also mentions the issue of fake certificates as another cause of the conflict. “There are people who are neither SC nor ST but possess fake certificates claiming to be one. These certificates are being freely issued,” says Justice Mohapatra.

The report has seemingly taken note of harassed Kandhas, whose socio-economic aspirations have been stymied by the politically-backed Panas who also enjoy the backing of evangelists. Sensing the benefits of reservation as well as sops doled out by the evangelists, many Pana Christians, who have lost their SC tag after conversion to Christianity, have managed to secure false caste certificates. Some of the Pana Christians also submit fake tribal certificates for Government jobs and to grab land and reap quota benefits in education.

Several officials and politicians face allegations of issuing these bogus certificates. Reports suggest that there are as many as 600 such allegations which are being investigated. Prominent among those against whom such have been levelled include Rajya Sabha MP and 1962 batch IAS officer Radhakanta Nayak, former BJD MP from Phulbani Sugrib Singh and former DGP of Orissa John Nayak.

The three factors suggested by Justice Mohapatra outline how tribals are being deprived of their fundamental rights in their own land.

Meanwhile, the interim report has triggered differences among Christians. While the evangelists and their followers have rejected the report for its remarks against conversion, the Poor Christian Liberation Movement has said that it considers the reported findings to be serious points of reflection. The PCLM has urged church leaders to study the report carefully rather than rejecting it as “one-sided” and “fictitious”.

The commission has suggested that the Orissa Government should address the problem by taking remedial measures on issues of religious conversion, land disputes and fake SC/ST certificates. The commission has so far examined five witnesses of the Government, a number of local people and received 320 affidavits.

“It will take at least two years to complete the inquiry, but the interim report will help the Government to intervene immediately,” Justice Mohapatra says.

The question remains whether the BJD Government headed by Mr Naveen Patnaik will take the necessary measures.

 

Also read:

Christian lies and deceptions in Khandamal, Orissa