The untold atrocities that Christians in eastern India’s Odisha state were subjected to in 2008, are the result of careful planning by Hindu nationalist groups of the "Sangh Parivar" network at the highest level, an Indian journalist and rights activist told the media on Thursday, alleging illiterate masses of militants were manipulated by propaganda and incited to kill. Thanks to the investigation carried out by Anto Akkara, "one can rewrite the history of Kandhamal", the district in Odisha where the atrocities were concentrated.
Violence rained down on Christians with untold savagery, with Hindu extremists blaming the August 23, 2008 assassination of Hindu leader Swami Saraswati Laxmanananda on Christians, despite Maoist rebels claiming the murder. Seven innocent Christian men were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 over the murder. Presenting his latest investigative book entitled: "Who killed Swami Laxmanananda ?" at a press conference in Odisha capital, Bhubaneshwar on Sept. 22, Akkara said, “it is a disgrace for the nation and the judiciary that seven innocent Christians are in prison for a crime they did not commit". Akkara denounced the sentence "without any proof" as an authentic "travesty of justice". The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for the appeal, "but the alleged Christian conspiracy against Hindus is totally unfounded", noted the journalist.
Akkara explained how the anti-Christian violence was orchestrated to pave the way for the victory of Hindu nationalist groups and the BJP in the 2009 elections, which was ultimately won by the Congress Party. Akkara also lamented that the National Commission for Human Rights has not even issued a statement on Kandhamal in eight years. He said that the "seven innocent Christians in prison are a stain on the judicial system of the country", and "Kandhamal remains a blot on the face of Odisha and Indian secularism".
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