Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Memorial Committee on Thursday lambasted the State Government for its failure to arrest the killers of the seer and four of his associates even after four years.
Observing the fourth death anniversary of the VHP leader as Dharma Rakshya Divas, the memorial committee condemned the heinous act and the deliberate attempt of the State Government to protect his killers.
The memorial committee organised a meeting here under the chairmanship of social activist Mansukhlal Sethia at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Recalling his long association with Saraswati, retired IAS officer Gopinath Mohanty said the sacrifices made by the seer are unparalleled. The VHP leader had brought a revolution in the tribal-dominated Kandhamal district by expanding education and making the illiterate tribal people aware of the social transformation, he added.
Even though Lakshmanananda and four of his associates were brutally murdered on this day four years ago, the police administration is yet to arrest the culprits, rued Mohanty.
A book titled, Vedanta Keshari Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and authored by Hemanta Dhar, a close associate of the seer, was released at the meeting which was coordinated by Laxmikanta Dash.
The death anniversary of the VHP leader was also observed in the communally-sensitive Kandhamal district amidst tight security. The district administration had made elaborate security arrangement by deploying armed forces at Jaleshpeta and Chakapada, where the seer had established ashrams.
Security was tightened at select churches in the district and all the incoming vehicles and passengers thoroughly checked at the entry points, said a senior police officer at Kandhamal.
Saraswati and four of his associates were killed by unidentified gunmen while celebrating Janmasthami at Jaleshpeta Ashram on August 23, 2008. The killing had triggered large-scale violence in Kandhamal and other places in the State.
At least 38 people were killed and thousands rendered homeless in the riots in which many churches were damaged drawing worldwide attention.