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Dance Of Terror In Orissa

By Nikunj Bhutia

28 August, 2008

Followed by the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and 4 of his disciples, Sangha Parivar (RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, BJP, ABVP) began their dance of terror throughout Orissa. Please see a news item from Press Trust Of India – which narrates a small part of what actually happened.

2 killed, churches targeted during saffron bandh in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Aug 25 (PTI) Two persons, including a woman, were burnt to death, a pastor critically injured and at least a dozen churches were torched during a 12-hour bandh called today in Orissa by the saffron brigade in protest against the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati. The woman was burnt to death when unidentified persons torched an orphanage run by a Christian organisation at Phutpali in Bargarh district, official sources said.

Twenty children, who were at the orphanage, managed to escape but a pastor suffered serious burn injuries in the attack, the sources said.

Another person, identified as Rasananda Pradhan, was burnt to death when his house was set ablaze at Rupa village in Kandhamal district where the VHP leader was gunned down along with four others on Saturday night.

Churches were attacked in Khurda, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Kandhamal districts as also in the state capital, police sources said, adding 40 houses were set ablaze in Phulbani town.

As the body of Saraswati reached Chakapada in Kandhamal district for the last rites, nine shops and two vehicles were torched at Raikia while two jeeps were burnt by miscreants at Udaygiri.

Home Secretary Tarunkanti Mishra told reporters that he had information about the two casualties. Mishra said the bandh called by the Sangh Parivar was "total and by and large peaceful". PTI*

It is a matter of regret and condemnation that Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and 4 of his disciples were killed on 23rd night while celebrating Janmastami festival at his Ashram at Jalespata in Tumudibandha block of Kandhamal District. It still remains inconclusive on 'Who killed' and 'why did they do so'. While the Police DG Mr.Gopal Nanda Govt. of Orissa prefers to hold the Maoists as responsible for the killings, the Sangha Parivar prefer to hold the Christians for it. At the same time some other people doubt the fascist Sangha Parivar designing a plot to outweigh BJD and others in the coming election. Let it be left to the government-investigating machinery to enquire to establish the truth.

But, the role played by the police and administration before, during and after the killings is a matter of great concern for the people who believe in 'Democracy' and 'Peace' – particularly for the happenings on 24th and 25 th August.

Few questions prick the conscience of common people about the response/attitude of the BJP-BJD led government in dealing the communal terrorists –

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was provided with special security by the Home Department. Again he had filed an FIR before 48 hours of the attack and sought adequate security arrangements viewing the letter from an unknown person threatening to his life. How could the miscreants entered into his Ashram and killed five persons including the Swami without harming the 4 PSOs ? And also how come Madhab baba alias Madhu baba could survive just by climbing a tree?

There are many instances when the Police and Administration had not permitted funeral processions viewing untoward happenings i.e. Kalinga Nagar. How could the already agitated and armed Sangha Parivar people be allowed to take the procession from Jalespata to Chakapada (about 130 kms) passing through communally sensitive places like Tumudibandh, Baliguda, Nuagan etcetera?

On the 23rd August night the RSS,VHP supported by BJP had announced that there would be statewide bandh on 25th August. The government was expected to take all the measures to prevent communal violence during the bandh as because everybody knows about the culture/behavior of Sangha Parivar in Gujarat in February 2002 and Kandhamal bandh on Dec 25th2007. How could the hooligans under the direct command of BJP and RSS leaders do whatever/however they felt to do? Without any slightest resistance they could burnt down shops, houses of Christians, ransacked and looted several Churches, burnt down some NGO offices, lynched a girl student of a Kanyashram and a Father at Baragarh, killed 3 persons in Kandhamal and everything was happening in the presence of Police forces. Why could not the police stop them or take any action? Why did not the government ask/mobilize adequate number of police forces? Are not these intentional?

Immediately after the murder of the Ashramites, the Sangha Parivar announced the bandh call for 25th. The just before a day of Bandh the government ordered the suspension of the Kandhamal Police Superintendent Mr. Nikhil Kumar Kanodia along with the local Police Inspector without posting any substitute to him and too knowing well what would happen on the next day. The same SP and his Team prevented a communal riot on July 22, 2008 following the tension centring round the RSS's opposition to beef eating by scheduled castes and tribes of Malipada village and RSS/VHP leaders had demanded his transfer. To mention here, the same BJP-BJD government did not act with the same vein in case of Kalinga Nagar massacre committed by the Police firing under direct instruction of the District Collector and SP. What forced the 'bureaucrat loving' Navin Government to be so rude to the officer?

The well-known professional communal riot-monger Mr.Pravin Togadia, who had been disallowed by different state governments to enter into their states for his roles during Gujarat riot 2002, was allowed by the Orissa Government during a very sensitive period to land on 25th and escorted to travel a 300 km long distance on road from Bhubaneswar to Jalespata and lead the procession, while several passengers were suffering a lot being struck in the airport because of the bandh. What makes the government to behave in such an insensitive manner? Or was the Govt. confident enough to tackle the situation even if such people lead the procession of already agitated mob?

Under the leadership of Mr.Pravin Togadia and in the presence of BJP Ministers and leaders accompanying the funeral procession, the attacks on minority community people was going on. Has the administration filed any FIR against such leaders and their followers?

It looked as if there was no administration, no law, no government on 25thAugust. The rioters were given a freehand to do/undo whatever they like - it reminded of the Gujarat pogrom. Fortunately, the common people are not communally divided unlike Gujarat and except the Sangh Parivar leaders, their Ministers, their employees and hired hooligans; no body else participated in the 25th's devils' dances. If this way the state is run, what will be the fate of our democracy and jurisprudence? I am afraid, if the state fails to give protection and justice to its innocent citizens, then we should not be surprised if they will resort to counter terrorism.

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