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October 05, 2008 18:45 IST

Admitting that Maoist groups in Orissa derive major support from minority communities, a prominent Maoist leader has said there was pressure from both Christians and Dalits to eliminate VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil, who met a group of journalists at an undisclosed hideout on Saturday, said Saraswati was killed as he did not pay any heed to Maoist's warning.

The transcript of Panda's meeting was made available to PTI on Sunday.

'We had asked Laxmanananda to desist from anti-Christian activities. He created a riot in December 2007 and subsequently targeted people indulging in cow slaughter,' he said, adding people of both the communities were opposed to the seer.

Noting that most of the cadre members and supporters in Orissa belonged to Christian community, Panda said, 'It is a fact that Christians are in majority in our organisation.

Our supporters in Orissa's Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal also belonged to Christian community.'

The Maoist leader, however, pointed out that though Christians were major support base of the outfit in Orissa, the situation was not similar across the country.

'We do not believe in any religion or are attached to any religious groups. We are not in favour of any religion,' he said, claiming Laxamananda was working to revive Brahminism, which was almost disappearing. 

Natural target of Maoists
Branding Sangh Parivar as a 'fundamentalist' grouping, the Maoist leader said senior BJP leader L K Advani [Images] and VHP's Ashok Singal and Pravin Togadia are 'natural targets' of the Left wing extremists as they are instigating communal passion.

Panda said Maoists were in search of an opportunity to eliminate the three leaders 'as they are instigating communal passion in the country'.

'We will kill the trio whenever a chance is available,' he said.

'These leaders always come to meet the people under the protection of CRPF jawans. Therefore, we could not kill them till now,' Panda, who is the secretary of the state organising committee of CPI (Maoist), said.

Admitting that the Maoists had for the first time intervened in any religious dispute by killing Laxamananda Saraswati, Panda said they wanted to create a casteless society devoid of exploitation where the people would not face discrimination of any kind.

Asked whether Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was also in the hit-list of Maoists, Panda said: 'No. It is a fact that we are angry with Patnaik for running the government in Orissa at the instruction of BJP leaders. But he is not in our target.'

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