Maoists 'killed' Indian religious leader amid violence between Hindus and Christians
Trying to escape from the pains of the Hindu caste system, many Indians converted to other religious. Many turned to Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Conversion has never been an easy and conflict free choice in India though. Now that Christianity has also entered the conversion game, some communal conflicts were in sight. This article tell us about the claim made by Indian Maoists on their resposability over the killing of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati in August at Orissa. "Maoists said they killed Saraswati because he was forcing tribal people to reconvert to Hinduism". The killing had sparked communal violence at Orissa.
Maoists 'killed' Hindu leader
Indian Maoists have claimed responsibility for the death of a Hindu leader whose murder sparked widespread violence between Hindus and Christians.
Private television station NDTV on Sunday said a senior Marxist commander had admitted to ordering the killing of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati in August in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
At least 33 people have been killed in religious rioting in Orissa since Saraswati's murder.
The Maoists said they killed Saraswati because he was forcing tribal people to reconvert to Hinduism.
"We ordered the death penalty for him," Sabyasachi Panda, the Maoist leader, said.
Panda said his group had left letters at the site of the killing claiming responsibility but that local authorities had hidden the evidence.
"The state government made it look like Christian groups are responsible for the attack," Panda was quoted by the NDTV as saying.
But Hindu hardline groups led by the Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have rejected the Maoist claim, saying the murder of a Hindu religious leader did not serve the Maoist agenda.
"Have the Maoists started fighting in the name of God now," Subhas Chauhan, a senior VHP leader, was quoted by the CNN-IBN television station as saying.
Chauhan and his supporters say Saraswati opposed conversions to Christianity and his elimination can only benefit the Christian missionaries active in the area.
Saraswati's killing prompted clashes across the state, with tens of thousands of people forced from their homes after Hindu groups attacked churches and the homes of some Christians.
Hindu villagers at some places have also allegedly come under attack from Christian hardliners.
On Friday, the Orissa government said police had arrested four people for the alleged rape of a nun during the riots.
Hindu groups, including Bajrang Dal, a Hindu youth movement that seeks to promote respect for the Hindu religion, have accused Christian missionaries of bribing poor and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity by offering free education and health care.
But Bajrang Dal has come under scrutiny in Karnataka, a state in India's south, where religious violence has also flared up in recent weeks.
The National Commission for Minorities, which visited sites in Karnataka where Christians were said to have been attacked, has suggested a ban on such organisations, saying they are "responsible for breakdown of communal harmony".
The Commission's report said authorities in Bangalore, capital of Karnataka, reported that of 93 people in custody in connection with the violence, 36 of them were members of Bajrang Dal.