2016-12-14 14:59:00

India: Kerala Chief Minister demands fresh probe into Kandhamal riots

(Vatican Radio) Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala has demanded a fresh probe into the death of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati of Kandhamal in the Eastern Indian State of Odisha on August 23, 2008, which had triggered riots in that area, that led to a massacre of more than a hundred Christians and a destruction of their churches and homes.

The Chief Minister put forth this demand on Tuesday, while releasing the Malayalam translation of ‘Who killed Swami Laxmanananda?’, a book penned by Delhi based journalist Anto Akkara in Thiruvananthapuram.

“The book forcefully shows that the allegation that ‘Christians killed the Swami’ is itself a concocted conspiracy. Yet seven innocent Christians have been convicted to life imprisonment for the murder of the Swami (Hindu religious leader).” remarked the Kerala Chief Minister at the Trivandrum Press Club, while releasing the investigative book translated into Malayalam by N Moosakutty.

Following the rumour that Christians had killed the Swami, Chief Minister Vijayan pointed, Hindu mobs were “incited to attack the Christians that left nearly 100 Christians dead, 300 churches and 6,000 Christian houses plundered in an orchestrated violence. This book has knit together convincing pieces of evidence that makes one breathless – without compromising on truth and honesty. Anto Akkara’s book is a model and great work of investigative journalism,” he added, after handing over the first copy to eminent historian Dr. K N Panikkar.

“I am besieged with mixed feelings. I am glad because the website is dedicated to ensure release of innocent victims,” said Panicker, former head of Modern History at Jawaharlal University in New Delhi, while launching the Malayalam link to the website www.release7innocents.com, at the function.

“At the same time, I feel distressed that justice has been denied to the victims for such a long time that a public petition has become necessary”, he added.

“The wealth of hitherto unknown information which the author has unearthed goes to prove that there was a well-planned conspiracy behind the rights of the people of Kandhamal. Discarding threats from different sections of the Hindu communal outfits, Anto has sought to identify the forces which worked behind the murder of the Swami,” pointed out eminent historian.

“If the 7 convicted Christians are innocent, as Anto says, it calls for a fresh trial. The evidences put forward in the book should be brought before the judiciary for a fair and just trial,” said Alexander Jacob, former Director General of Police of Kerala.

Jacob cited the shocking case of one of the judges going on record that Kehar Singh, who was hanged for Indira Gandhi’s assassination, was innocent 15 years later.

“I read Anto’s book non-stop. It is a historical work of investigative journalism. For the first time, a journalist has gone deep into a riot – from its roots to the prosecution process and verdict,” pointed out Jacob.

“After going through what Anto has brought out my only prayer is that these things should not be true – that police who were supposed to protect the victims played a role in the conviction of innocents,” added the former police chief of Kerala.

“When Anto made a strong media intervention in a lock-up death case (in 1991 with a Times of India feature titled ‘Sometimes dead men tell tales’), several police officials told me that he is a dangerous journalist. But as Ernakulam Commissioner of Police at the time, I told them that he should be watched out as a journalist trying to bring out truth. But I never thought that he will come to this level.

“This is a not a book in the traditional sense. It is a fight for truth and justice,” pointed out journalist author Anto Akkara who has made 23 trips to Kandhamal while introducing the book. He urged everyone to lend their voices to the 7 innocent Christians – six of them illiterates – languishing in jail due to the Sangh Parivar fraud.

(source: report of Anto Akkara)

All the contents on this site are copyrighted ©.