Conversion and the Future of Christian-Hindu Conflict

Introduction

On August 23, 2008 (Janmāṣṭamī day), an armed group from the Communist Party of India (Maoist) killed revered Hindu religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and some followers at his ashram in district Kandhamal, Orissa. Although early on the group that murdered Laxmanananda had been identified as insurgent Maoists, the incident nevertheless sparked protracted Christian-Hindu riots across Orissa and further Christian-Hindu unrest across the rest of India. Hindus continue to blame Christians, not Maoists, for killing Laxmanananda.

Despite the fact that Maoists are outspokenly atheist, their killing of Laxmanananda clearly coincided with Christian interests. As reported in the Indian Express, Orissa Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda explained why they killed Laxmanananda:

Laxmanananda was encouraging Brahmanism and simple tribals were being converted to Hinduism. Tribals are not Hindus as they have their own culture and God. They practice animal sacrifice. They have separate religion. He was attacking people who ate beef and converting Christians into Hindus. That’s why we killed him (Mohanty “Maoists Own Up”).

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