Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maoist recalls final moments of Laxmanananda, claims cops fled

Posted: Saturday , Jul 25, 2009 at 0941 hrs

Reconstructing the final moments of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four associates in Kandhamal’s Jalespeta ashram in August 2008, Orissa police said that a Maoist who surrendered this week claimed there were four policemen at the ashram but they fled when the Maoists announced that they had come looking for the Swami.

Four of the six Maoists who carried out the attack were from Chhattisgarh, the police were told.

Rayagada SP Ashis Kumar Singh said Surendra Brekwada alias Dasu, who surrendered with his wife Ruppi Pidikka alias Jaya, told them that a six-member crack team of the Maoists, led by Orissa CPI (Maoist) leader Azad alias Duna Keshav Rao, reached Jalespeta ashram on August 23 evening and came across four lathi-wielding policemen.

Brekwada, a sharpshooter, was one of the six who allegedly killed the 82-year-old Laxmanananda, Kishore Baba (45), Amritananda Baba (62), Mata Bhaktimayee (40) and Puranjan Ganthi (28), brother of one of the girl inmates of the tribal residential school.

Brekwada told police Azad was carrying an AK-47. “Azad told the policemen that we have come to kill the Swami, that we will do them no harm. The policemen jumped across the ashram wall and fled. We asked one of the ashram inmates the whereabouts of the Swami and he pointed to a room. Azad entered the room by breaking the door and then found the Swami in the bathroom. He fired several shots at the bathroom door to crack it open. He then fired at the Swami, killing him,” SP Singh quoted Brekwada as saying.

The Swami’s murder, according to the Maoist, had been planned days in advance by Sabyasachi Panda, head of Orissa State Committee of the CPI (Maoist).

“Other than the six who took part in the killing, there were several who were entrusted with blocking roads and providing logistics. A few days before the murder, some of the Maoists did a reconnaissance of the area. The cadres also had an ambush plan if they came across police,” Singh said.

On January 30 this year, the Orissa CID, probing the Laxmanananda murder case, submitted a preliminary chargesheet against seven people arrested in the case. Duryodhan Sunamajhi, Munda Badamajhi, Sanatana Badamajhi, Bijay Sanseth, Gananath Chalanseth, Bhaskar Sunamajhi and Budhdev Naik were charged under IPC Sections 302, 449, 380, 120(B) and 34 and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. Prime accused Sabyasachi Panda is still at large. The CID will be questioning Brekwada soon.

The Laxmanananda murder appears to have led to a rift in the Maoist ranks. Brekwada said several cadres disapproved of the ashram killings.

Brekwada told police there was no transparency in the organization. “We were all brainwashed into believing that life in the jungles would be great. But we found it to be the opposite. Besides, leaders from Andhra Pradesh had the final say on everything though we did all the work,” he said.

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