Home ODISHA LATEST Swami Laxmananand Murder : 7 convicted by Phulbani ADJ court

Swami Laxmananand Murder : 7 convicted by Phulbani ADJ court

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OST Bureau

Phulbani/ Bhubaneswar, Sep 30:

Seven persons were convicted in the murder of senior VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on 23 August 2008 by a Kandhamal court on Monday.
Additional District Judge Rajendra Kumar Tosh found the seven guilty and reserved the order for pronouncement of the quantum of punishment for October 3.
The seven who were held guilty are Gadanath Chalanseth, Bijaya Kumar Shyamseth, Buddha Nayak, Sanatan Badamajhi, Duryadhan Sunamajhi, Bhaskar Sunamajhi and Munda Badamajhi. Besides murder and criminal conspiracy, the seven were convicted under different provisions of IPC.
 “The judge convicted them purely on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the deposition of witnesses,” said prosecution lawyer Bhagaban Mohanty.Two of them were convicted under the Indian Arms Act, 1959, for possession of illegal guns, the lawyer said.
The crime branch of the police had arrested and filed a charge sheet against all of 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 on Tuesday.

All the seven convicted persons were Christian residents of the area and were part of a mob that  had attacked the Swami and his aides in the Ashram, the lawyer said.

The convicted person had taken the extreme step because according to them Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was converting local Christians to Hinduism and was creating an unpleasant situation in the area, he said.

The killing of Swami Laxmananand had triggered communal violence which claimed 38 lives. Hundreds of houses, churches and other Christian establishments were set on fire. Over 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by violent mobs, who held Christians responsible for the murders.

Police, however, blamed the Maoists for the incident..

“ A criminal is a criminal irrespective of which religion he or she belongs to and should be punished under the laws of the land,” Dr Swarup Patra, a top Christina leader and president of the Odisha Minority Forum.

“We welcome the court verdict. We want most stringent punishments to be awarded to the convicts. The investigation should continue till the conspirators are nabbed by the investigating agency until full justice is done” BJP leader Ashok Sahu said.

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