Orissa: Six more sentenced for attacks on Christians

|PIC1|Additional Sessions Judge Sobhan Kumar Das of a fast-track court at Phulbani in Kandhamal district passed the sentences to Kiringa Kanhar, Lasia Kanhar, Gananath Kanhar, Lankeswar Kanhar, Naresh Kanhar and Gorekh Pradhan.

They were found guilty of setting houses on fire and engaging in unlawful assembly by defying the curfew, according to the Press Trust of India.

So far, 12 people have been convicted in the Kandhamal riots case, which spread to several other states as well last year after the murder of a Hindu leader. Although Maoists claimed responsibility for the killing, Hindu radicals took revenge by going on the rampage in Christian communities.

Hindu mobs burned thousands of homes, as well as shops, churches and orphanages. More than 30,000 Christians from Orissa were forced to take shelter in refugee camps, where the living conditions were poor, or in the jungle where they were in danger of being attacked by wild animals.

At least 60 Christians were killed, according to the Orissa government’s report, but church leaders in Orissa report higher figures and have accused the government of intentionally undercounting the number of deaths.

Ten thousand people were named in the 827 cases registered during the August riots. Chargesheets have already been filed in 437 cases and investigation is ongoing in other 354 cases, including the savage rape of a nun.

The Fast Tract Courts I and II at Phulbani, Kandhamal district have already handed out similar sentences in the past few months.

On 30 June, the Fast Track Court II convicted Chakra Mallick of Gochhapada and sentenced him to four years in prison. At least 15 persons were acquitted in different cases due to lack of evidence.

The second conviction came on 27 July, when Fast Track Court I sentenced five people to six years imprisonment in the Kandhamal riots case.

The two fast tract courts are expected to deliver more verdicts in the coming days.