Orissa files 270-page charge sheet in Hindu leader murder case (Lead)

January 30th, 2009 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 30 (IANS) The crime branch of Orissa police Friday filed a 270-page charge sheet against seven people for the murder of a Hindu leader that triggered communal violence in the state during August-September last year, an official said.The charge sheet was filed against the seven people in the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate at Baliguda in Kandhamal district, inspector general of police Arun Kumar Ray told IANS.

They are charged under various sections of the Indian penal code and the Indian Arms Act.

Several documents and other things related to the crime were also submitted by the police. These include post mortem reports, some cassettes and CDs, seized weapons and masks, assistant public prosecutor in the court B. Loknath Dora told IANS by telephone.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four aides were killed Aug 23 at his ashram at Jaleshpata in Kandhamal, about 200 km from here.

Police said they are looking for at least 150 more people for their involvement in the case. “Investigations will continue and we may arrest some 150 people in the case and file a final charge sheet later,” a senior crime branch official said.

Maoists were blamed by the police for the killings. However, some Hindu organisations, which held Christians responsible for the crime, launched attacks on them.

Thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. At least 38 people were killed in the violence.

Police have arrested around 700 people for the communal violence and officials say they are looking for at least 10,000 more people who were involved in the violence.

Officials Friday said that at least 6,000 people, nearly all Christians, are still taking shelter in relief camps in Kandhamal although situation has normalised and no violence has been reported since October.

Thousands of armed policemen and central forces continue to guard sensitive places of the district, an official said.

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