First he said Christians, and not Maoists, killed Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati. Now, after a Maoist leader appeared on TV claiming responsibility, BJP parliamentarian from Orissa M.A. Kharabela Swain believes he can still stick justify his stand, simply by adding a prefix.
The 55-year-old legislator from Balasore now says “Christian Maoists” killed the Swami on August 23, which led to riots in Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa.<b1>
“The killing was carried out by Christian Maoists. In most parts of Orissa, Christians have joined the Maoist brigade in large numbers,” he told Hindustan Times.
Swain had written an article in RSS mouthpiece Organiser dated September 14 almost defending the Maoists. He said the murder could at best be the handiwork of a splinter group of Maoists hired by missionaries, as the Maoist style of functioning is different.
“Till recently, the Maoists hailed Swamiji as pro-poor and messiah of the downtrodden. Then why should they turn against him? Also the attack did not occur as a Maoist operation,” he wrote.
“They would not have attacked when preparations for a grand puja were on and when there was a possibility of hundreds of people getting killed.”
This defence of Maoists was startling as it came from a BJP man, given the fact that his party and the Sangh Parivar as a whole have always been ideologically anti-Left.
When asked by HT about this ideological U-turn, Swain said he remained anti-Left. But he came out with another statement to prove that he had jumbled up his ideological understanding. He said the Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, who owned up the murder two days ago, was “talking like a Congress man” by using words like “secular” and “communal”.
“Maoists and Naxals never make a distinction between secular and communal,” he said, although Left organisations in India have always claimed to be secular and anti-communal.
Reflecting the same ideological confusion, VHP leader Mohan Joshi on Tuesday said Maoists had never been against religious leaders.
He added that Maoists would not kill a Swami who worked among the poor, in a position similar to the one taken by Swain in the Organiser article. This is at odds with the consistent anti-Left line of Hindutva leaders.