Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 18:
The Odisha Minority Forum in a press release today welcomed the arrest of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.
The release issued by its president Dr Sasmit Patra said, “We welcome the arrest of Sabyasachi Panda who was allegedly instrumental in the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati that ultimately triggered the communal violence against the innocent minorities especially in Kandhamal in 2008. If Sabyasachi Panda had not allegedly undertaken the killing, then 50,000 minorities would not have been displaced, about 34 killed and livelihood of thousands of minorities wouldn’t have been destroyed.”
“With Sabyasachi’s arrest, we call for conclusive investigations into the Swami Laxmananda Saraswati murder case so that the guilty are tried and convicted at the earliest,” the release added.
The release further said, “In 2008 despite links of Maoists in the killing of Swamiji, the innocent minorities were made a scapegoat in the hate campaign that was unleashed. It is therefore necessary that the guilty in Swamiji’s murder are convicted through speedier investigation and trial so that the aspersions at times cast on the minority community regarding the killing would stand absolved forever. We also hope that during the investigation and subsequent trial, care would be undertaken by the appropriate authorities so that rumour-mongering does not take place since it was one of the primary issues for the incidents in Kandhamal in 2008.”
The Odisha Minority Forum further hoped that the Justice Naidu Commission investigating into the killing of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and the ensuing communal violence in Kandhamal would greatly benefit from the arrest of Sabyasachi Panda and would take inputs from the alleged mastermind to finally file the completion of the Commission’s investigation that has been in the running for the past six years since 2008 with Justice Mohapatra Commission and now with Justice Naidu Commission.
The Forum also called on the Odisha Government to strengthen security measures in the district of Kandhamal and other Maoist affected districts in view of Panda’s arrest.