Trauma in ashram, schoolgirls witnessed Swami’s murder

via Author- Ravik Bhattacharya - published on August 30, 2008

Jelaspota (Orissa), August 28

While violence rages across Kandhamal district, in the ashram,
where its spark was lit when Swami Lakshmanananda

Saraswati and four others were killed on August 24, the adults

are angry, the children traumatised.


Many of the 130 girls in the Kanya Ashram, a residential


on the campus, were eyewitnesses to the killing of

the VHP

leader and that incident has burnt memories they

will never


“First, we thought someone is bursting crackers and so we ran
towards the main gate. Then we saw and heard people
screaming and running. There was blood all over the place.

Swamiji and Mataji and others were lying in blood.
I shouted

ran away, we all started running here and there,” said
old Anita Pradhan. She is from Raikia and has been in
ashram for three years.

According to Anita, it was around 7 in the evening, prayer time
in the students’ quarters. Swamiji and Mataji Bhaktimoyee,
head of the girls hostel, were inside Swamiji’s room adjacent
to the main entrance.

According to eyewitnesses, 10 to 15 men climbed the wall and
started firing indiscriminately. They first shot dead Amritanandji,
a disciple of Swamiji. The attackers then entered a small room,
home to Prabhati Ganta, the guardian of one of the students
who was living there. They shot him, too. Later, Kishore Baba,
a resident of Boudh, was shot just outside this room.

It was then that they broke open Saraswati’s room. “Swamiji ran
into the toilet to save himself and shut the door. Mataji, who hid
behind the door, was shot first. The miscreants then broke open
the toilet door and sprayed bullets,” said an eyewitness.

Vijaylaxmi Mullick, a Class X student at the ashram, is too
traumatised to narrate the incident. Her voice trembles and
falters as she remembers. “I rushed towards the main gate
long with others only to see some men running around and
loud cracking noise. I heard the cries of Swamiji and others. I
saw other Swamijis running here and there. I was scared and
ran inside the hostel room with another girl. We sat huddled
together. Until after a long time, one of the Swamijis came and
escorted us out of the room.”

Kusum Pradhan, a Class 6 student, could not venture out of
her hostel room after dark following the incident. “I too rushed
out after hearing the noise. I saw bodies lying in blood. I
touched Swamiji’s feet, who was lying in the bathroom. It was
still warm but he did not move. Nor did Mataji, who lay inside
the room,” was all Kusum could say.

The 130 girls, who now reside inside the hostels of the
sprawling ashram, now cannot venture out. The ashram is
guarded by CRPF and Orissa police constables. The girls’
relatives are unable to visit the ashram and take them home
because of the violence and the ongoing curfew in the

Brahmachari Shankar Chaitanya, who is now in charge of the
ashram and is always escorted by police constables and CRPF
personnel, seethes with anger against both Christians and the
state government. “We had written 30 times to the state

government that Swamiji’s and our lives were at stake,

that we

were being threatened by Christian leaders. Before
the incident,
we got a letter threatening to kill Swamiji. We formally
complained to the police and district authorities. They sent only
four baton-wielding constables,” said Shankar Chaitanya. “Not
a single minister visited us after the incident, not even of our
BJP. The Collector comes sometimes. He gave us rice, dal and
sugar for the children.”


Chaitanya alleged that it was Christians, not Maoists, who

were responsible for the incident. “The Maoists can never do

this. It is Christians who threaten us everyday and they did


he said. He alleged that the ashram has been kept out


the peace process.
“No one called us for any meeting or


part in any peace process. As long as are kept out,


will continue.”

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

15 − 12 =


Latest Articles from Bharath Focus

Did You Know?