Bhubaneswar, Sep 30 IANS | 2 years ago

A court in Odisha Monday held seven tribal people guilty for the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his aides in Kandhamal district of Odisha in 2008, a lawyer said Monday.

Special Additional District Session Judge R.K. Tose pronounced the verdict in his court at Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, a lawyer told IANS.

The quantum of sentence would be pronounced Oct 3, he said.

Those convicted were Budhadev Majhi, Bhaskar Sanamajhi, Duryodhan Sanamajhi, Munda Badamajhi, Sanatana Badamajhi, Gananath Chalan Seth and Bijay Sanset, the lawyer said.

Saraswati and four of his aides were killed by a group of unidentified assailants at his ashram at Jaleshpata in the district of Kandhamal Aug 23, 2008. The killing triggered communal violence in the state, in which at least 38 people were killed.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for the murder of the swami and his four aides. Police, however, blamed the murders on Maoists.

The crime branch of the police arrested seven people and filed a charge sheet against them Jan 2009.

(Posted on 30-09-2013)