Gajapati Maharaj to Naveen; Book Swamiji’s killer, stop conversion

source:, September 3, 2008

Bhubaneswar: Holding conversion and illegal cow slaughtering as the root cause of communal unrest in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, Puri Gajapati Maharaj Dibya Singh Deb on Tuesday urged Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to book the killers of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and strictly implement anti-conversion laws in the State to pacify communal violence.

Speaking at a press conference here along with dozens of Hindu religious thinker and preachers, the Gajapati Maharaj said a particular community patronizing conversion and cow slaughtering in Kandhamal, which has created a lot of resentment among the tribals.

Appealing for communal harmony, the Puri King said, “We condemned brutal killing of Swamiji and demanded proper investigation to reveal the exact reason behind the incident”.

The Government should also probe the circumstances leading to security lapse for Swamiji, he added.

The Government should ensure security for Hindu religious establishments and saints, he demanded.

Hailing Swamiji as beacon light for the poor and downtrodden in Orissa’s tribal region, the Maharaj informed that “We would host a prayer meeting to observe Solidarity for Swamiji on September 7 in the city, where several Hindu religious thinkers and preachers would offered floral tributes to the departed soul”.

“We demanded a complete ban all organisations involved in unlawful conversion and cow slaughtering,” the Raja Saheb lambasted. The Government should allow such organizations to carry out large-scale conversion in the name of service, he added.

Giving a detail on conversion activities in Kandhamal, he said in 1961, Hindu population was at 304459 while Christians at 1928, Muslims at 382. In 1971, the figure of Hindus was recorded at 354769 while Christian recorded at 37561 and Muslims at 1427, he said.

He further said quoting 1981 census, that Hindu population counted at 405251 followed by Christians at 42264, Muslims at 1325 and other at 45. In 1991 census, Hindu population recorded at 468869, Christians 75597, Muslims 1739 and others two and in 2001 census, Hindu population recorded at 527757 where as Chrstain population reached at 117954, Muslims at 2253 and others 58.

“From the above mentioned fact sheet, one could imagine the impact of conversion in Kandhamal population,” the Raja Saheb pointed out.

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