A fast track court in Orissa awarded three years rigorous imprisonment to fourteen accused in the 2008 Kandhamal riots.
Judge CR Das of fast track court II in Phulbani sentenced seven people to rigorous imprisonment for setting fire to houses in Budamaha village in Raikia during the anti-Christian violence. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 4,500 each.
In a similar case of arson, seven people were sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 6,500 each imposed for burning houses in Sindherigaon village.
Meanwhile, in a case of a murder, the court acquitted 31 persons while two were sentenced to six years of rigorous imprisonment.
The two were part of a mob that attacked three villages, setting fire to hundreds of houses that belonged to Christians. On September 30, the mob attacked and killed Ramamani Naik and Lalaji Naik of Rudangia village.
Incidentally, among the acquitted included BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan who had over 14 cases for his involvement in the riots.
Church people have expressed shock at the acquittals, which they said was the result of intimidation and coercion.
Earlier this month, a four-member team of prominent activists discovered a “state of lawlessness and utter fear” of Christians who were facing “social and economic boycott from the right-wing RSS.”
“Christians have lost confidence in the police and local councils. They work hand in glove with the assailants,” Fr Ajay Singh, who was part of the fact-finding mission, had expressed.
Christian Today India
November 22, 2010