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Bollywood film for the missionary who converted Hindus, Padma Shri to his widow; not even a discussion on the Saint who promoted gharwapsi and saved cows

Today you will find many articles in the media remembering Graham Staines, many books can be found on him, but nothing will be found about Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Today, let us remind you of an old incident. A special reminder is needed because we are Hindus and we tend to forget too much. Palghar incident from April 16, 2020, is still fresh in our mind, the way the missionary inspired mob killed 2 sadhus and their driver in Maharashtra. However, there was a similar incident that happened in Kandhamal, Odisha on August 23, 2008 that everyone seems to have forgotten. The incident involves the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his 4 disciples. Swami Ji’s body was cut with an axe 15 years ago on the day of Janmashtami.

The witnesses to this massacre were 130 girls, who were studying in ‘Kanya Ashram’ of Tumudibandh, and had come there on the occasion of Janmashtami. A young boy was also among the dead. The killers had AK-47 rifles, many assailants were also equipped with indigenous kattas. Most of the Maoists whose names surfaced in this massacre were Christians. Many people even described these arrests as ‘cover-ups’ because instead of Christian missionaries, the conversion gangs were protected by calling the massacre only the handiwork of Maoists.

Killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati: ‘Clean chit’ given to Christian missionaries under the guise of Maoists

It is no secret that Christian missionaries generally target poor and backward areas. The poor people are shown miracles in the name of cures from diseases, they are lured with food and money, and hatred for Hindus is instilled in them by holding Hindu gods and goddesses responsible for their plight. In this way, the missionaries are successful in getting the people of backward regions converted to Christianity. This has been going on for years and is not a recent phenomenon.

The same Christian missionaries were behind the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, the result of the same Hindu hatred spread by them. Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda had claimed responsibility for the killing. This can give you an idea of how much Christian missionaries have infiltrated even the Maoist organizations that have shed people’s blood for years. Then you have people like Father Stan ‘Swami’ who were in jail in the case of Bhima-Koregaon violence in Maharashtra. After the Kandhamal massacre, Panda even said that he would kill LK Advani, Ashok Singhal, and Praveen Togadia.

Remember that these three used to be the firebrand leaders of Hindutva back then. After this statement of the Maoist leader, the liberal gang got an excuse to cover up the Christian missionaries’ role by saying that this is the work of Maoists, and Maoists are Hindus. However, no one talks about the penetration of Christian missionaries into Maoists. Today the situation has become such that in many areas it has become difficult to differentiate between Hindus (Dalits/Tribal people) and Christians, because even after conversion, they remain the same as they were before. Only one new thing is added – Hindu hatred.

Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati had close ties with the RSS and was associated with the ‘Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP)’. He had been spreading awareness about Hinduism among the tribal society for 35 years by setting up an ashram in Chakapad. He had also opened ‘Gurukul Sanskriti Vidyalaya’, through which education was provided till graduation. He was vocal about Christian conversions and this was not liked by the missionaries. Swami was becoming an obstacle for them in the path of conversion in the area. Swamiji was also running a movement against cow slaughter.

2008 was the year when Maoist violence was at its peak in Odisha. 28 commandos of Special Security Force ‘Grey Hounds’ were ambushed by Maoists. Within a span of a few months, 17 police personnel were again killed in a landmine explosion. The following year, MP Sudama Marandi was also attacked, in the attack, three of his security personnel were killed. In the midst of all this violence, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was also killed.

Media ignored the murder of an old saint and his 4 disciples, the focus of the media was on defaming the Hindus

People who witnessed that period in 2008 know that the media did not give enough attention to this massacre. There was neither much concern about Christian conversions nor the influence of missionaries in the Maoist organisations. In the pre-social media days, the general public knew only what the journalists of a particular ideology used to tell them. And what was told after this massacre? That Hindus have persecuted Christians.

So, the initial massacre of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his 4 followers was not given priority in the news, but when Hindus protested, the nature of the protests became an issue. The massacre itself was forgotten by describing the Hindu protests as violent. ‘Journalists’ compared the protests to the riots in Gujarat after the Godhra massacre. Even today the incident of burning alive 59 Ram Bhakts, including women and children in Godhra, is not talked about and the culprits behind it, but the Hindus are definitely blamed for the riots that followed.

Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati also belonged to the forest dwellers of Odisha. He belonged to the Kanda Vanvasi society, which is considered very powerful. After penance on the Himalayas, he had come back for the betterment of society. When Sangh Pracharak Shyam ji went to his ashram, he saw how many struggles he was undertaking for his work. There were not enough utensils for cooking, and there was no provision of adequate lanterns for lighting, due to which it was difficult to study at night.

At that time, both of them together took out the yatra of Lord Jagannath in the villages and helped turn the tribal society back to its roots. Due to the revival of faith in Lord Jagannath, many converted Christians returned to Hinduism. Swamiji used to blow the conch shell and sprinkle holy water, which led to their formal return to Hinduism. Now you can understand how this renaissance led by Swamiji must have caused an uproar among Christian missionaries.

This is the reason why the Vanvasi society became furious after the murder of Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati and was filled with resentment towards those who had converted to Christianity. This was followed by protests and violence, during which the media forgot about the murder of Swamiji, and focused on blaming the Hindus. We did not get to know the details about the massacre of a social worker over 80 years of age and his 4 disciples, the way we could get to know in Palghar.

Congress-BJD MPs were accused of attacking Swamiji, but no action on anyone was taken after arrest of the Maoists

A group of about 30 people had come to kill Swamiji and all of them had covered their faces. Swamiji started running the ashram only a year after his return from the Himalayas in 1966. It is also worth knowing that when he was killed, 70% of the district committee of Maoists were Christians. However, this was not the first incident when he was attacked. On Christmas day in 2007, Christians in Brahmanigaon started putting up their gate in front of the temple.

Hindus were enraged by this and in the subsequent conflict, 5 people died on both sides. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, who reached the spot, was also attacked. Before his murder, there had been 8 murder attempts on him. Despite 8 attacks, the local police and administration were not serious about his safety. When he was murdered, his bodyguard was on leave and 4 constables engaged in his security had gone to the market. Those constables did not even have any weapons. Swamiji was gunned down with bullets, then his body was cut up using an axe.

Leaders of BJD and Congress were also involved in the attacks on him in the past. Congress Rajya Sabha MP Radhakant Naik was named in the attacks on him, who happened to be linked to a Christian organization called ‘World Vision’. When Swamiji was travelling by bus once, a Christian Lok Sabha MP from BJD blocked his way and attacked him. A week before the murder, he had filed an FIR over a death threat he had received. After his murder, the local SP and the station in-charge were suspended and the government action concluded with those suspensions.

A Christian missionary was murdered in Odisha in 1999, Bollywood even made a film about it

Even when Hindu saints are killed, Hindus are blamed by the media by highlighting the reactions from the protests that followed, but this is not the case with other religions. To see these double standards, we have to go back to 1999, when a Christian missionary named Graham Staines and his two children were murdered. The unfortunate incident got a lot of media coverage and Hindus were made the villains of the piece. Bollywood even made a film on this incident in 2019 called ‘The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story’.

Think, Bollywood made a film blaming Hindus for an incident in 1999, but for an incident that occurred 9 years later, there was not even a discussion. Graham Staines, who came from Australia, was active in Kendujhar district and was also accused of forceful conversion of Dalits and tribals. The UPA-1 government also conferred Padma Shri on his wife. In 2016, she also received an international award named after Mother Teresa.

What did Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati get in return for the work done by him for 4 and a half decades for the upliftment of the tribal society? Did the media remember his contribution even after the massacre or did the governments give him any respect? Graham Staines was even accused of proselytizing villagers by feeding them beef. Today you will find many articles in the media remembering Graham Staines, many books can be found on him, but nothing will be found about Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

The Graham Staines murder case is also said to be a conspiracy to defame Hindus, as a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge DP Wadhwa had written in its report that the main accused was not associated with any organisation. But, the Minorities Commission denied this and blamed ‘Bajrang Dal’ in its own investigation. In the investigation of the judicial committee, it was also found that the work of Christian conversion was going on in the camp where the murder took place.

Today, the question arises how do Christian missionaries reach the Maoist areas where even the police are not able to go to the troubled areas? Think that places where Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati was not safe even on foot, how did Christian missionary Graham Staines roam fearlessly with his wife and children? Swamiji neither received Padma Shri, nor any international award nor any film on his murder will be ever made.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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अनुपम कुमार सिंह
अनुपम कुमार सिंहhttp://anupamkrsin.wordpress.com
चम्पारण से. हमेशा राइट. भारतीय इतिहास, राजनीति और संस्कृति की समझ. बीआईटी मेसरा से कंप्यूटर साइंस में स्नातक.

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