Two arrested in connection with murder of missionary Graham Staines

Published 20 May 2013  |  
Graham Staines and his family, wife Gladys, daughter Esther and sons Philip, left, and Timothy.

Fourteen years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death in sleep by a right wing mob, two suspects were arrested Friday from Odisha's Keonjhar district.

A story by Priya Ranjan Sahu for the Hindustan Times reported that Ghanshyam Mahanta, 37, and Ramjan Mahanta, 34, were arrested on Friday morning during a raid by CBI officials and the Keonjhar police." That's according to District Police Superintendent Kavita Jalan.

The third individual is still on the run.

The Hindustan Times reported that in an incident that drew international outrage, Staines, 58, and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6, were burnt to death on 22 January 1999 by a mob led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh.

Staines and his sons were asleep in their station wagon in front of a church in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar, about 400km northwest of Bhubaneswar.

The Hindustan Times said a total of 18 people, including Dara Singh, were arrested for their involvement in the crime while three others were on the run.

In 2003, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Bhubaneswar sentenced Singh to death.

In 2005, the Hindustan Times reported, the Orissa high court commuted Singh's death sentence to life imprisonment. The court, however, retained the life imprisonment awarded to the other accused.

In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld Orissa high court's life imprisonment for Singh and his accomplices.

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