The killing of Laxmanananda Saraswati by Maoists and the riots in its aftermath seem to have caused a sharp division in the rebel ranks,say the Orissa Police top brass.
The rumblings in the largely cohesive Maoist rank and file came out in the open last week when secretary general of the Central Committee of the CPI(Maoist) issued a statement that Sabyasachi Panda,the most notorious rebel leader in Orissa has been sacked from the party for money laundering and leading a lavish life.
The note written in Oriya bearing the sign of one Saket alleged that Panda had purchased over 100 acres of land in and around Nayagarh area with the help of party fund.
Panda,who shot into the limelight for leading the attack on Nayagarh districts police armoury in February last year,had claimed that the Maoists killed Saraswati for his anti-proselytisation activities.
The statement said although the Maoists had decided to fight Hindu fascism,the killing of Saraswati was not authorised. The note claimed Saraswati was killed on Pandas orders.
The killing resulted in widespread riots which affected the livelihood of many poor people. Before killing the swami,the religious and caste equations in the area were not taken into consideration. As a result,several people became critical of CPI(Maoist) role in the communal riots.
A senior police officer in charge of anti-Naxal operations said the contents of the letter seemed to be written by a Maoist functionary well versed in the organisational activities.
Barring a couple of words,the tone and tenor of the letter is like that of a regular Maoist letter. But what is clear is that Panda is not the secretary of the CPI(Maoist) Orissa State Committee as the real secretary is someone by the name of Bhashkar. Besides,there are several people in the organisation who go by the name of Saket, the officer said.
Police top brass say the power struggle could be a result of one groups desire of checkmating the group.
The police are also confused about the emergence of a group called M2,which is calling itself a pro-Hindu Maoist outfit that effected a successful bandh in Kandhamal and two other districts on January 3.