Maoist press release creates flutter in Orissa

January 16th, 2009 - 4:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 16 (IANS) A Maoist press release announcing the expulsion of one of Orissa’s most wanted left-wing rebels appeared in some newspapers here Friday, creating a flutter in the state.The release on the letterhead of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, faxed Thursday to some media organisations in the state capital, announced that the party has expelled its Orissa unit secretary Sabyasachi Panda for anti-party activities.

It also threatened him with dire consequences for his “anti-people activities”.

Published Friday in two newspapers, The Sambad and The Dharitri, the release held Panda responsible for the recent communal violence in the state that killed at least 38 people and forced thousands of people to flee their houses.

A senior state police official said he had doubts about the authenticity of the press release. “The Maoists in the state are divided on religious lines after the communal violence and it may have been the handiwork of a rival group,” he said on condition of anonymity.

Panda, 39, who is one of the most wanted Maoist rebels, said on television October last year that his group killed Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others in Kandhamal district.

The district, about 200 km from here, witnessed violence after the murder of Saraswati and his four aides Aug 23 in Jalespata Ashram.

While police blamed Maoists for the killings, some Hindu organisations held Christians responsible for the crime and launched attacks on the community. Christian organisations have repeatedly denied their involvement in the murder.

About 6,000 of the riot-hit people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

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