Friday, March 20, 2009

Naxalites kill RSS leader in Kandhamal

Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times

Bhubaneswar, March 20, 2009
First Published: 03:07 IST(20/3/2009)
Last Updated: 03:09 IST(20/3/2009)

Violence returned to Orissa’s Kandhamal district when suspected Naxalites shot and killed Prabhat Panigrahi, a local RSS leader, in Rudiguma village, 330 km from Bhubaneswar, on Thursday.

According to the police, it appears to be a revenge killing for Panigrahi’s alleged role in the Kandhamal riots. His name figured in the hit list released by the Naxals after the district was rocked by anti-Christian violence following the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in August 2008.

Kandhamal SP Praveen Kumar told HT: “Panigrahi was associated with the RSS. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the communal violence but was released on bail on March 14.” Since his release, apprehending danger to his life, he had been spending each night at a different place. On Thursday, he was in Rudiguma village. At about 2.00 am, around 15-20 armed Naxals tried to break open the door of the house Panigrahi had taken shelter in. He tried to escape but “the Maoists shot him down,” a police official said. The assailants left behind posters in the name of CPI-Maoist that said: “All those who misuse religion to incite communal riots and interfere in the dietary habits (eg., oppose beef eating) of the local people will meet the fate of Saraswati.”

Tension ran high in the area after the murder. Angry villagers, demanding security, did not allow the body to be taken for post-mortem. The district administration defused the situation after assuring that they would be provided security.

The Hindu , Chennai

RSS activist gunned down in Kandhamal

Sib Kumar Das

BERHAMPUR: Prabhat Panigrahi, a Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh activist, was gunned down allegedly by Maoists at Rudiguma village in Kandhamal district in the early hours of Thursday. The sangh parivar has called a Kandhamal bandh for Friday.

In another incident, the beheaded body of a CITU leader, also allegedly slain by Maoists, was found at Renjada on the Orissa-Jharkhand border near Rourkela.

Mr. Panigrahi was among 14 persons on a hit-list prepared by the naxals after last year’s communal violence in Kandhamal. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the rioting, and lodged in the Baliguda jail. He came out on bail only on Saturday.

Mr. Panigrahi, a resident of Bandapipili village, was staying at the house of another RSS activist when he was shot dead. According to sources, 15 armed men reached the house and shot Mr. Panigrahi from close range. The assailants left a poster saying anybody trying to follow in the footsteps of the slain VHP leader Lakshamanananda Saraswati would face death.

Throughout the day, the village remained cut off as residents did not let the police or anyone enter it.

As for the other incident, police sources said they suspected that CITU leader Ravi Oram was beheaded on Tuesday but the news reached them late as people were afraid of Maoists. Through a poster, the naxals alleged that the CITU leader was a police informer. The body was found near the rail track between Topadihi and Renjada.

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