April 23, 2009:
Two days before the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Orissa, police on Tuesday arrested P. Rama Rao alias Uday, a top- most CPI Maoist leader who confessed to the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal on August 23, 2008.
Uday and three of his associates were arrested from the Gudari jungles of Rayagada district during combing operations. The Hindustan Times reported Rayagada SP A.K Singh as saying, “Uday has confessed to the killing of Swami Laxmanananda. He divulged details about how the operation was planned and executed”
Crime Branch IGP Arun Ray was also reported as saying “Uday along with Azad (another top ranking CPI- Maoist leader) masterminded the attack on the Jalaeshpata Ashram where Swami Laxmanananda was staying on August 23, 2008”
Commenting on the arrest, Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India said, “The arrests bring to light the lie propagated by the VHP who accused Christians of masterminding the killing of the Swami. Ashok Sahu, the BJP candidate from Kandhamal had publicly blamed the Church for political gains. Their lies have been exposed and the Christians in Orissa stand vindicated. ”
Police seized a revolver, a pistol, some live bullets, naval kitbags and explosive from the Maoists.
The worst- ever spate of anti-Christians violence in the history of India began in the district of Kandhamal on August 24 last year, a day after the leader of Hindu group, Laxmanananda was murdered. Although a Maoist group claimed responsibility for the dead of the Swami and four of his aides, the VHP blamed the local Christians for the assassination. The wave of violent attacks carried on unabated for more than two months claiming 72 lives, destroying 5031 homes, 150 churches, and 90 institutes.
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations