Phulbani/ Bhubaneswar, Sep 30:
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.