RSS chief salutes Orissa's dead as martyrs

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (UNI) Denouncing "the reprehensible and ghastly" manner in which 84-year-old Swami Lakshmananand and four others were murdered in his ashram in Phulbani district of Orissa, RSS chief K S Sudarshan today disclosed that seven major attempts had been made on his life earlier but every time he had a providential escape.

Claiming that the Swami had become "an eyesore for the missionaries" because of his ability to wean back converted tribals back into the Hindu-fold, he said the Swami had established his ashram in an area where Christian missionaries had been active even before the country's independence.

Mr Sudarshan said that despite attempts on his life, the state government did not provide enough security to the Swami. But now that some four or five people had been arrested and judicial probe ordered into multiple murders, he said; "Let us hope that the truth will come ut at its earliest and the guilty will be given deterrent punishment." The RSS chief paid his homage to all five killed in the ashram by saluting them as "martyrs" to the cause of "dharma and motherland".

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