Dimapur, July 2: Crusading against the life imprisonment of seven persons who were convicted in the aftermath of the assassination of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati of Kandhamal, a district in Odisha where about 20% of the population follow Christianity, Anto Akkara, who has written several books on the incident and spent a decade studying and investigating it, today interacted with the media fraternity here at Press Point, Super Market, Dimapur to share his findings and reveal how the entire case is very easily a conspiracy.
Akkara, who has been a journalist with international media for almost three decades presented his case saying that the night when 81-year old Swami Laxmananda was assassinated on 23 August 2008, his police guards had fled, giving an easy access for the assailants which indicated the whole plan was an inside job rather than an attack by the Christian community. Also, it was VHP leader Praveen Togadia who announced the names of ‘killers’ rather than the police that led to a rampage causing the death of 100 people of Christian faith, 300 churches were destroyed and 6000 houses were plundered in unabated violence rendering 56,000 homeless.
The assassination of the Swami was quickly followed by the arrest of seven Christians who were held by police for 40 days before letting off with an affidavit: “Due to fear, we had taken shelter in police station.”
The investigation team then arrested a second batch of seven people of the same faith of which six were illiterates including one mentally challenged and after four years of trail and transfer of two judges who understood the conspiracy, the third judge sentenced them life imprisonment and Anto Akkara has been crusading across the country to give justice to those seven and had launched an online campaign in March 2016 through his website www.release 7innocents. com where he has been collecting signatures for the release of the convicted people. Each signature generates four instant emails to the chief justice of India, President, NHRC Chairman and High Court of Odisha. He has collected around 50,000 signatures till today.
He explained that about a decade ago before the assassination, Swami Laxmananda had mentioned in an interview that he was sent by the God from the Himalayas to save Kandhamal from becoming an independent Christian land which, according to him, was the plan of US, Europe, Pope and Sonia Gandhi and so when he was assassinated, it was quickly labelled as a Christian attack and his body was taken from one corner of the district to another taking the longest zig-zag route possible just to instigate communal hatred towards Christians which was a success.
Later, even two books were written by some Micheal Parker and Brannon Parker in support of the VHP story, but Akkara said that he found a common source in both the books written by the different authors and when he approached the source, he was informed that none of the writers ever interviewed him and none of the quotes from him mentioned in the books were true. Interestingly, Micheal Parker’s book ‘Harvest of Hate-Kandhamal in Crossfire’ had a forward note by the then director of India Foundation, the publisher of the book and present Defense Minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman in which she had said that Micheal Parker was born in India while the profile of that Parker at the end of the book declared that Parker was born in US, which were in contrast to each other and pointed towards the author being a fraud name.
Akkara in his remark had said that irrespective of religion, people should come forward and sign the petition to save the life of the seven innocents who are behind the bars now for about a decade.
(Page News Service)