Chargesheets drawn up against suspected Orissa attackers

Published 10 June 2009
|PIC1|In a sigh of relief for persecuted Indian Christians in Orissa state, the state police last week filed more than 400 chargesheets against suspected perpetrators of the 2008 violence in Kandhamal district that claimed the lives of dozens of Christians.

Last year, a series of violence erupted against Christians in the aftermath of the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, a Hindu fundamentalist leader. Hindu extremists accused Christians of the slaying and launched a series of attacks that paralysed the community and although the Maoist militants claimed responsibility, the assaults on Christians went unabated for several months.

The violence left dozens of people death, 50,000 people homeless and 4,640 houses, 252 churches and 13 educational institutions destroyed.

Out of the total 827 cases registered chargesheets had been filed in 437 cases and investigation was on in other 354 cases of Kandhamal riots, including the nun rape case, Director General of Police (DGP), Manmohan Praharaj.

According to Praharaj, the police have also arrested Uday alias P Rama Rao, one of the two who opened fire at Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. They are yet to arrest Drona Kesaba Rao.

The DGP clarified that the arrested Naxalites "does not have any religion" and hence cannot be classified as Christians or Hindus.

Praharaj said the police "have some idea ... they are mischief mongers trying to create communal tension".

Meanwhile, in the nun rape case, the Crime Branch (CB) has failed to nab the remaining two of the 19 accused persons. The CB is seeking to declare the two as absconders while chargesheet against seven others are underway.

Investigating officer Dilip Kumar Mohanty says if the legal sanctions are done, then police could seize their property if they fail to surrender before the investigating agency.

Last week, tension was running high in the district of Kandhamal, after threatening posters against the newly elected BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan were found.

"We are investigating the matter after threat posters were recovered from Raikia area," Kandhamal SP Praveen Kumar said.

Pradhan, currently in jail for his involvement in last year's violence on Christians is, according to police, one of the 14 names in the Maoist hit-list.

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