Three Convicted, 26 Others Acquitted in Kandhamal Riots Cases

In two separate cases pertaining to anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal last year, three people have been convicted by a fast track court in Orissa, while 26 others acquitted due to lack of evidence.

“In one case, two people were convicted by Fast Track Court-I and handed five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 for torching the house of Subhash Digal and Kuli Digal Aug 26, 2008, of Pradhanpat village,” said a public prosecutor, BK Patnaik.

“In another case, one person was convicted by the court and given a four year jail term and a fine of Rs.2,000 in connection with an arson case in Penela village on August 27, 2008. Ten others were let off in the case for want of evidence,” said PK Patra, a public prosecutor.

Sixteen other people were exonerated in a third case.

Phillip Behera of Sandakumpa village falling under Raikia Police station area had filed cases against 16 people for setting his house on fire. Fast Track Court-II judge Chittaranjan Das let them off because of lack of proof.

It may be mentioned that after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008, anti-Christian violence spread in Kandhamal district.

At least 38 people were killed and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after they were attacked by mobs, although police blamed Maoists for the VHP leader’s killing.

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