'VHP leader's killing was pre-planned' | india | Hindustan Times
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'VHP leader's killing was pre-planned'

The murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati which sparked large-scale violence was planned several months before, says a police official.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2008 15:39 IST

The murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Orissa, which sparked large-scale violence during which at least 36 Christians were killed and thousands of homes were burnt, was planned several months before, a police official said Friday.

Kandhamal district witnessed communal violence after Saraswati was killed Aug 23. Hindus in the region blamed Christians for the killing and went on a rampage against the community.

At least 36 people, mostly Christians, were killed and thousands of homes were burnt in the district during the violence. Over 20,000 people, mainly Christians, have taken shelter in relief camps after their houses were torched by rampaging Hindu mobs.

"While investigating the case, we are finding it to be one of the most complicated cases in the state," Arun Ray, inspector general of police, crime branch, told IANS by phone.

"The crime was planned much before. We have identified the perpetrators of the crime," he said. "We have arrested three people and are likely to arrest some more people in the near future."

Sabyasachi Panda, one of Orissa's most wanted Maoist leaders, earlier this week claimed responsibility for the killing.