Category Archives: Hinduism

Sathya Sai Baba’s death triggers fight for his £5.5 billion empire


Sathya Sai Baba had built his empire on the myth that he was the reincarnation of an earlier – and much loved – Indian saint of the same name Photo: EPA

The death of an Indian guru who built up a worldwide following of up to 50 million people has triggered an unholy scramble for control of his £5.5 billion empire.

Telegraph | Apr 24, 2011

by Gethin Chamberlain

Sathya Sai Baba’s claims to divinity, and his apparent ability to magic holy items out of thin air were enough to win him an army of devotees, including celebrities such as Goldie Hawn, Sarah Ferguson and Hard Rock cafe founder Isaac Tigrett.

India’s president and prime minister both attended his latest birthday celebrations.

Their devotion was tested to the limits in recent years by persistent allegations that the guru indulged in widespread sexual abuse of young acolytes at his ashram in Puttaparthi in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Yet even when video footage proved beyond doubt that his “miracles” were simple sleight of hand and he was implicated in the murders of four followers, millions still refused to believe the worst.

His death on Sunday, however, is another matter. Sai Baba had built his empire on the myth that he was the reincarnation of an earlier – and much loved – Indian saint of the same name. In doing so, he had prophesied his own death at the age of 96 – and his reincarnation eight years later.

As news of his deteriorating health spread, police were ordered into Puttaparthi to maintain control, with devotees venting their anger and frustration at officials and members of the trust which runs the Sai Baba empire.

With allegations circulating that the trust had neglected Sai Baba’s health in recent months, worried politicians held top-level meetings to discuss whether the state should seize control of his vast fortune.

His nephew, RJ Ratnakar and devotee Satyajit, who had taken over responsibility for his care in recent years, are among those reported to be jostling for control over the Sai organisation.

His death also raises questions about the future of his controversial education programme, which had been expanding worldwide in recent years.

In the UK his organisation has exploited the requirement for schools to provide spiritual, moral and cultural development, which was introduced in the 1988 Education Reform Act.

It promotes the lessons as a way to reverse the trend towards anti-social behaviour and the international Sathya Sai organisation says almost 200 schools across the UK have acquired its manuals.

The UK courses were written by Sai Baba follower Carole Alderman, a regular visitor to his ashram and a devout believer. She has no teaching qualification but did run the Christmas play at his ashram for six years.

Asked in an interview with the Sai radio station about the relevance of his teachings to the challenges faced by contemporary society, she replied: “I’m happy! Almost all of the time. And if I have any problems, I can just turn to Him and He’ll sort them out for me.”

Critics claimed the programme did little more than encourage vulnerable young people to join Sai Baba’s personality cult.

With his saffron robes and trademark Afro hairstyle, Sai Baba certainly cut a distinctive, if diminutive – he stood just 5ft 2 ins tall – figure.

He was never slow to proclaim his own divinity, insisting that his arrival on earth was prophesied by Jesus, that he was the one who originally sent Jesus to Earth and that he was clearly the Lamb of God because his name – Ba Ba – is the noise a sheep makes.

He inspired devotion among his followers, who flocked to the ashram just to catch a glimpse of him and maybe to be given a sprinkling of the holy ash he claimed to be able to materialise from thin air. The lucky ones received watches or gold statues, which he would apparently produce from his mouth.

But for his growing army of critics, he was nothing short of a child-molesting fraud who had for years taken advantage of the gullibility of his young male followers to sexually abuse them during private audiences in his rooms.

Victims have told in harrowing detail how they were groped during private audiences and required to take part in sexual acts with the man they had trusted.

So seriously were the claims taken that for many years the US government warned its citizens to stay away from the ashram because of the risk and UNESCO, the UN’s Educational, Social, and Cultural Organisation, pulled out of a conference at the ashram citing deep concerns about “widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse”.

Sai Baba had dismissed the sex abuse allegations as false and described them as the “cawing of crows”.

“All that is written on walls [or] said in political meetings, or the vulgar tales carried by the print media, should not carry one away.”

But former devotee Barry Pittard said Sai Baba was a dangerous confidence trickster who should have been allowed to have anything to do with children.

“For the worst victims of his depredations, the victims of murder and maiming and people being beaten by his officers and families being broken up and the boys, some of them very young, their sufferings have been very great.”

And former Sai organisation teacher Robert Priddy, who helped set up the teacher training model, said most people teaching the programme were unqualified to do so.

“The aim of embedding ‘spiritual’ values in children was heavily imprinted with indoctrinating them to believe in Sai Baba’s divinity and doctrine,” he warned.

Sai Baba had also been denounced by the Indian Rationalists Association, who debunked his “miracles” and pointed to numerous videos available on the internet which show the one-time conjurer producing items from various places where he has concealed them, including his mop of hair.

The negative publicity had little effect on the growth of his fortune, though. Court documents allege he owned two Mercedes limousines, two BMWs, one Daimler, one Jaguar, and plenty of other Indian vehicles.

The documents also allege he had the roof of his temple lined with solid gold. The grounds of his ashram contain a museum, mostly dedicated to his own works and there are numerous statues, including a slightly larger than life gold statue of Sai Baba himself, a gold chariot, a silver chariot and a cricket pitch laid for an international tournament for which he offered as a trophy a solid gold cup weighing 20kg and valued at £150,000.

The battle for control over that fortune promises to be bitter. Family members have already fired the first shots at the trust, and there are suspicions the state government would like to get its hands on the coffers.

Despite Sai Baba having previously assured his followers that he would not die anytime soon, his physical health deteriorated rapidly in recent months.

He was admitted to his own hospital at the end of last month suffering from pneumonia and breathing problems. On Thursday, his condition worsened and doctors said his organs were no longer functioning. He died on Sunday, reportedly of heart failure. His exact age is a matter of debate: his own organisation put his age at 85, while his purported date of birth in 1926 would suggest he was 84. Others suggest he was born in 1929.

Narendra Nayak, President of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, said that his failure to reach the age at which he had claimed he would die should be enough to convince people Sai Baba was no God.

Speaking before the guru’s death he said: “Sai Baba is a third rate prestidigitator and manipulator who is now paralysed and he cannot cure himself. How can he cure others? There is a saying in English – physician heal thyself. So I would say Baba heal yourself.”

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Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth sequel program recruits world religions for holy war on changing climate

goreAl Gore. Photograph by Graeme Robertson

“I’ve done a Christian [-based] training program; I have a Muslim training program and a Jewish training program coming up, also a Hindu program coming up. I trained 200 Christian ministers and lay leaders here in Nashville in a version of the slide show that is filled with scriptural references. It’s probably my favourite version, but I don’t use it very often because it can come off as proselytising.”

Nobel winner adapts fact-based message to reach those who believe they have a moral duty to protect the planet in Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

guardian.co.uk | Nov 2, 2009

Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth sequel stresses spiritual argument on climate

by Suzanne Goldenberg

Al’s Gore’s much-anticipated sequel to An Inconvenent Truth is published today, with an admission that facts alone will not persuade Americans to act on global warming and that appealing to their spiritual side is the way forward.

In his latest book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, the man who won a Nobel prize in 2007 for his touring slideshow on disappearing polar ice and other consequences of climate change, concludes: “Simply laying out the facts won’t work.”

Instead, Gore tells Newsweek magazine in a pre-publication interview, that he has been adapting his fact-based message – now put out by hundreds of volunteers – to appeal to those who believe there is a moral or religious duty to protect the planet.

“I’ve done a Christian [-based] training program; I have a Muslim training program and a Jewish training program coming up, also a Hindu program coming up. I trained 200 Christian ministers and lay leaders here in Nashville in a version of the slide show that is filled with scriptural references. It’s probably my favourite version, but I don’t use it very often because it can come off as proselytising,” Gore tells Newsweek.

Gore’s book arrives at a time of intense international scrutiny of America’s moves on the environment ahead of an international meeting on global warming at Copenhagen, now just more than a month away.

It draws on the scholarly approach Gore developed for Inconvenient Truth. Since 2007, the former vice-president has been calling experts together from fields ranging from agriculture to neuroscience to discuss possible solutions to climate change.

The book draws on 30 such “solutions summits”, as well as Gore’s countless telephone conversations with scientists at America’s best institutions. According to the book’s press release, “Among the most unique approaches Gore takes in the book is showing readers how our own minds can be an impediment to change.”

New polling last month showed a steep decline in the numbers of Americans who share Gore’s sense of urgency in acting on climate change.

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The book aims to reach those Americans by familiarising readers with emerging alternative energy sources, such as geothermal, biomass and wind power, as well as the possibilities of making cleaner coal power plants, and developing a more efficient and responsive “smart” electrical grid.

Gore also explores how deforestation, soil erosion, and the rising world population are multiplying the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Much of the material was developed through the series of brainstorming sessions organised by Gore. Since 2007, the former vice-president has been calling experts together to discuss possible solutions to climate change. He has also held countless telephone conversations with scientists at America’s best institutions.

“He is one of the only politicians that takes the time to actually talk to scientists who are producing the cutting-edge stuff and he comes in with questions. He doesn’t ask us how our results impinge on a particular policy he actually asks about science,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who spoke to Gore along with colleagues four or five times for the book. “Nobody that we have dealt with has ever taken as much time to understand the subtlety of the science and all the different complications and what it all means as Al Gore.”

Those conversations led Gore to politically inconvenient conclusions in this new book. In his conversations with Schmidt and other colleagues at the beginning of the year, Gore explored new studies – published only last week – that show methane and black carbon or soot had a far greater impact on global warming than previously thought. Carbon dioxide – while the focus of the politics of climate change – produces around 40% of the actual warming.

Gore acknowledged to Newsweek that the findings could complicate efforts to build a political consensus around the need to limit carbon emissions.

“Over the years I have been among those who focused most of all on CO2, and I think that’s still justified,” he told the magazine. “But a comprehensive plan to solve the climate crisis has to widen the focus to encompass strategies for all” of the greenhouse culprits identified in the Nasa study.

The former vice-president has been working behind the scenes to try to nudge the White House and Congress to move forward on a 920-page proposed law to cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions and encourage its use of clean energy sources like solar and wind power.

On Saturday, he told the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, he was “almost certain” Obama would attend the negotiations. The White House has so far refused to make a commitment.

But Gore has also been confronted with almost daily fresh reminders of the difficulties of prodding Americans to action.

The proposed legislation has set off a ferocious debate about the costs of dealing with climate change – with conservative Democrats and Republicans saying reducing America’s use of oil will deepen unemployment and hurt average American families.

Republicans in the Senate have threatened to boycott a session today that had been called to move forward a draft of a 920-page proposed law to deal with climate change.

Progress on the bill is seen as crucial to getting a binding deal at Copenhagen. Barbara Boxer, the chair of the Senate’s environment and public works committee, said yesterday she was ready to move ahead without any Republican participation.

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Glenn Beck-Lord Monckton Debate Global Warming

Maoist madness in Nepal and Hindu shrine Pashupatinath

Organiser | Feb 22, 2009

By Dirgha Raj Prasai

Maoist cadres and riot police have been deployed at Nepal’s holiest Hindu temple to stop protesters getting violent at the government’s attempt to remove Indian priests. The decision has led to demonstrations by Hindu groups.

The Lord Pashupatinath temple is on the edge of Bagmati river in Kathmandu. The complex rises above the bank amid a mass of pagoda-style building. The temple moves to ancient rhythms. And one of its many traditions has been to recruit priests from far-away south India. But, for the first time, the south Indian priests have been replaced by local Nepali priests. It used to be a practice that the temple authorities would appoint the priests in conjunction with the king, and the King was always happy to maintain link with south India. The fiercely secular communists would have few qualms about dispensing with the services of the south Indian priests.

After the appointment of Nepali priests, many protesters in Pashupatinath shouted ‘Down with Maoists’, and ‘Scrap this decision’, as the two priests performed religious ceremonies. This decision must be scrapped immediately. The Maoists have appointed their own people as priests. Dozens of riot police and Maoist volunteers escorted the temple’s new Nepalese priests when they visited the holy sites around the temple complex, which dates from the third century BC. The Nepalese are worried that Pashupati complex is being used as a playground for politics. The Bhandaris, traditional temple caretakers, also protested against the decision of the Maoists.

Maoist cadres and riot police have been deployed at Nepal’s holiest Hindu temple to stop protesters getting violent at the government’s attempt to remove Indian priests. The decision led to demonstrations by Hindu groups. Nepal’s Supreme Court directed the temple authorities to clarify the controversy and not to let the newly appointed Nepali priests perform the rituals. Traditionally, the temple authorities would appoint the priests in conjunction with the king. The way Maoist government replaced the priests without fulfilling any formality has hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

After the formation of Maoist led-government in Nepal, the Maoist leaders are going to disturb and destroy the democratic norms and religious, cultural and traditional values of the country. Now, they are trying to take over the Pashupatinath temple. The Supreme Court has ordered the Trust to allow the three Indian priests to carry on with the rituals till its final verdict, the new priests have begun their work in violation of the order. Maoists and cadres of the Young Communist League (YCL) stormed the temple, broke the lock of southern gate, vandalised it and thrashed the Bhandaris. The daily worship was performed without following the traditional rituals. It is a blatant attack on the centuries-old tradition and it is against the Supreme Court order.

A prominent journalist Yuvraj Ghimire reported the Culture Minister Gopal Rai (Maoist central committee member) saying that the Government would not obey the Supreme Court order staying the appointment of priests.

In such a situation, King Gyanendra advised the Maoist led-government to keep the shrine out of dispute and not to tarnish the image of Nepal as a country where different religions co-existed in harmony down the ages.

Under the new rule, formulated after the installation of democracy, anybody whether Nepali or a foreign national, who is qualified and well versed with Hindu religion and is acquainted with the practices of Pashupatinath temple, can be a candidate for the post of the priest. Almost in 1343 AD during the regime of Lichchhavi, Muslim ruler Samsuddin, who hailed from Bengal, attacked Kathmandu and Pashupatinath temple. Now after 665 years, more than a hundred Maoists and cadres of YCL broke the lock of the Pashupatinath’s main shrine and took the newly appointed priest.

If Bhatta had voluntarily resigned new priests could have been appointed with the reason thereof citing the prevalent law regarding the worship and management of Pashupatinath. Since legendary period Newar Rajopadhya could also be appointed as Bhatta (priest). Rajopadhya should be traced from Bangemuda (Kathmandu) and Banepa (Kabre). In 1746 AD, Pratap Malla, the King of Kathmandu, appointed Gyanananda and Lambakarna as priests of Pashupatinath. They were tantrik (having mystic power). Till now, there are four Bhatta priests and 106 Newars as Bhandaris (store keepers and protectors). Bhandaris are chronologically important. Only those born in Devpatan, the Pashupati area, are entitled for worshiping Lord Pashupatinath.

The area of Pashupatinath imcompasses 264 hectare of land including 518 temples and monuments. We want to protect and safeguard this heritage. The Rajbhandaris must be reinstated. Maoist followed the villainous part as played by Samasuddin having a force of thirty one thousand Muslims plundering and vandalising the faith and trust of Hindus and Buddhists in Vikram Era 1400. The last Lichchhavi regime was very weak. There was a great chaos after the Muslim attack. To save the regime from such a dreadful situation Jayasthiti Malla, the Ksha King having cooperation and assistance from kings of Palpa, Kaski, Gorkha and Lamjung, attacked vigorously the Muslim army. Thirty thousand four hundred soldiers were killed and about six hundred fled away. It can be seen in Bhatapur Taleju temple. Then, Jayasthiti Malla ascended the throne of Kathmandu and reconstructed the temple and constructed the Rama temple across the Bagmati river and also established Kumbheshwar Mahadev and performed Kotihom. He also laid the strict rule regarding the entrance of Hindus and Buddhists only.

King Jyotirmalla writes in a stone lablet—‘About Pashupatinath in a 1465 Vs, Lord Pashupatinath having five mouth along with worshipable Bashuki the holy serpent.’ King Pratap Malla was famous in stone tablets. Prithvinarayan Shah the great, worshipped Lord Pashupatinath during his integration of Kingdom. It is stated in Lingua Bambshabali. Prithvinarayan Shah had got carved in Basantapur Place in 1826 Vs after victory over Kathmandu valley—‘Lord Pashupatinath and Goddess Guheshwari may bless Nepal for keeping sovereignty and stability along with Shah popular regime.’ Royal seals were also attached regarding the worship of Lord Pashupatinath by King Ranabahadur Shah, King Mahendra and King Birendra as well. Since 1979, UNESCO has kept this core area as a world heritage. It encompasses four hectare of land as a very sensitive area.

Let the Maoists-led government be away from imposing political interference over Hindus and Buddhists. The decision taken in contravention of all the rules and regulations regarding the worship be scraped immediately. This is the high time to be conscious and united on the part of Hindus, Buddhists as well as all patriotic Nepalese.

Communists appoint their own priests to Nepalese temple amid protests

Riot police for Nepal temple row

The Supreme Court has barred the new priests from performing rituals

BBC | Jan 2, 2009

Maoist-appointed priests are escorted by armed riot police and Maoist cadres

Maoist-appointed priests are escorted by armed riot police and Maoist cadres

Riot police have been deployed at Nepal’s holiest Hindu temple to stop protesters angry at the government’s attempt to remove Indian priests.

Prayers at Pashupatinath temple have always been led by high caste Brahmin priests recruited from south India.

Earlier this week they were replaced by local priests – a move that ended centuries of tradition.

The move is seen as a reflection of wider changes in the past year with the former Maoist rebels coming to power.

The temple decision has led to demonstrations by Hindu groups.

“We want this decision scrapped immediately,” news agency AFP quoted one priest, Hariharman Bhandari, as saying. “The Maoists have appointed their own people.”

On Thursday, Nepal’s Supreme Court directed the temple authorities to clarify the controversy and not to let the newly appointed Nepali priests perform the rituals.

However, the new priests visited holy sites around the Pashupatinath complex escorted by riot police and Maoist volunteers.

Outside, protesters shouted “Down with Maoists” as the priests performed ceremonies.

King’s role

The temple complex sits on a sacred river on the edge of Kathmandu and rises up from the bank amid a mass of pagoda-style buildings.

For the past 250 years, the temple has recruited its priests from south Indian Brahmins.

Traditionally, the temple authorities would appoint its priests in conjunction with the king.

But the new government in Nepal is led by the Maoist party. And earlier this year, it abolished the monarchy.

This made the Maoist prime minister a patron of the temple.

Pramananda Shakya, the new head of the Pashupati Development Trust, said the reforms were necessary.

“We are trying to end the financial irregularities that take place inside the temple. That’s why some people are not happy with our decisions and are protesting,” he said.

Pakistani Security Consultant Calls Mumbai Attacks A “Botched” False Flag

Says Hindu zionists and Mossad behind attacks meant to imitate 9/11

Infowars.net | Dec 3, 2008

By Steve Watson

A renowned Pakistani strategic defence analyst has described last week’s terrorist attacks in Mumbai as a “botched” false flag operation designed to imitate the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Zaid Hamid, a security consultant who routinely appears on Pakistani television, told reporters of the News One channel that the attacks were state sponsored by Indian military intelligence and carried out by Hindu zionists aided by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.

Hamid contends that the motive is to shift attention away from India’s domestic terrorists, and to justify Western intervention in Pakistan.

“They look like Hindus. No Pakistani speaks the language they chatted in,” said Hamid , claiming that the attackers wore saffron Hindu Zionist wrist bands.

“The Americans executed the 9/11 attack perfectly.” Hamid continued. “They managed the media very well. The Indians tried to repeat the formula but goofed up. The idiots made a complete mess of it,” he argued.

Video of Hamid’s comments have been uploaded to youtube.

Hamid, who also hosts his own “Brasstacks” show on the News One channel, has long asserted that the U.S. wishes to eliminate Pakistan’s nuclear facilities which are seen as a direct threat to Israel’s sovereignty.

Hamid also told viewers that during the first five minutes of the attack, three Indian counterterrorist officers were killed by authorities in order to halt their investigations of a terror network within India’s security agencies.

One of those men was India’s top antiterrorist officer Hemant Karkare, who was shot three times in the chest as he led his men at the Taj Mahal Palace.

Karkare was on the verge of uncovering the home-grown terror franchise of the Hindu extremists. He had also received death threats just hours before the attacks.

Karkare was investigating a bomb attack that killed at least six people near a mosque in the western city of Malegaon on September 29. In early November his Anti-Terror Squad arrested senior Military Intelligence officer Colonel Srikant Prasad Purohit on suspicion of involvement in the attack which was carried out by Hindu extremists.

Colonel Purohit was also under investigation for the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings, which killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis. Investigations into this will now likely be halted.

Analysts claim that the Mumbai bombings represent a desperate move on behalf of separatists within the Indian establishment who want to shift the country away from independence and into the new world order model.

Nepal appoints 3-year-old as new living goddess

Matani Shakya, 3, newly appointed ‘kumari,’ or living goddess in Nepal, looks on as farewell rituals are performed before taking her to kumari house in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. Selected between the ages of 2 and 4, living goddesses are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. Devotees touch the girls’ feet with their foreheads, the highest sign of respect among Hindus in Nepal. During religious festivals the girls are wheeled around on a chariot pulled by devotees.  (AP Photo/Binod Joshi)

AP | Oct 7, 2008

By YUVRAJ ACHARYA

KATMANDU, Nepal – Hindu and Buddhist priests chanted sacred hymns and cascaded flowers and grains of rice over a 3-year-old girl who was appointed a living goddess in Nepal on Tuesday.

Wrapped in red silk and adorned with red flowers in her hair, Matani Shakya received approval from the priests and President Ram Baran Yadav in a centuries-old tradition with deep ties to Nepal’s monarchy, which was abolished in May.

The new “kumari” or living goddess, was carried from her parents’ home to an ancient palatial temple in the heart of the Nepali capital, Katmandu, where she will live until she reaches puberty and loses her divine status.

She will be worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists as an incarnation of the powerful Hindu deity Taleju.

A panel of judges conducted a series of ancient ceremonies to select the goddess from several 2- to 4-year-old girls who are all members of the impoverished Shakya goldsmith caste.

The judges read the candidates’ horoscopes and check each one for physical imperfections. The living goddess must have perfect hair, eyes, teeth and skin with no scars, and should not be afraid of the dark.

As a final test, the living goddess must spend a night alone in a room among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes without showing fear.

Having passed all the tests, the child will stay in almost complete isolation at the temple, and will be allowed to return to her family only at the onset of menstruation when a new goddess will be named to replace her.

“I feel a bit sad, but since my child has become a living goddess I feel proud,” said her father Pratap Man Shakya.

During her time as a goddess, she will always wear red, pin up her hair in topknots, and have a “third eye” painted on her forehead.

Devotees touch the girls’ feet with their foreheads, the highest sign of respect among Hindus in Nepal. During religious festivals the goddesses are wheeled around on a chariot pulled by devotees.

Critics say the tradition violates both international and Nepalese laws on child rights. The girls often struggle to readjust to normal lives after they return home.

Nepalese folklore holds that men who marry a former kumari will die young, and so many girls remain unmarried and face a life of hardship.

Hindus burn down dozens of churches

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Indian Maoists kill Hindus over Christian conversions

Thousands of Christians in India have fled their villages to escape a sustained assault by Hindus who have burned down dozens of churches in the eastern state of Orissa.

Telegraph | Aug 28, 2008

By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi

The attacks were sparked last weekend by the murder of a Hindu leader and four of his followers. The revenge spree by Hindu gangs has since escalated into one of the worst inter-religious clashes the country has witnessed in recent years.

At least 11 people, most of them Christians, have been killed, including one woman who was burned alive in one of several arson attacks in Kandhamal district, 120 miles southwest of the state capital Bhubaneshwar.

The violence has continued despite shoot-on-sight orders issued to police. Then Pope has also appealed for an end to the clashes.

The situation is so volatile that a government minister sent to the state to advise the local authorities was unable to return to New Delhi as it was not consideredv safe for him to travel.

Federal security forces are due to be deployed to help Orissa contain the violence.

The turmoil erupted last weekend with the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of the radical Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or World Hindu Council and four of his followers at his ashram in Kandhamal.

Police blamed Maoists insurgents but Hindu leaders held local Christians responsible for the crime.

They alleged that they had killed Saraswati for heading a campaign to reconvert Hindus and tribal people from Christianity.