EFI News Orissa Update, July 1, 2010

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Manoj Pradhan: Bharatiya Janata Party legistator sent to jail

July 1, 201
In a major blow to the BJP, a party legislator was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment by a fast track court on June 29 for murder during the anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal district of Orissa in 2008.

The first tract court I Judge S.K Das convicted G Udayagiri MLA Manoj Pradhan, along with his accomplice, Prafulla Mallick, of murdering Parikhit Digal, a Christian resident of Barepanga village on August 27, 2008. The convicts were taken to jail within hours after the announcement.

Ramesh Mohanty, Pradhan’s lawyer was reported as saying that the court found Pradhan guilty under Section 326, 147, 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means, rioting and unlawful assembly respectively. Police had earlier registered a case against Pradhan under IPC section 302 (murder) as well.

Pradhan, a close disciple of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, earlier acquitted in seven cases relating to the Kandhamal riots, is still being tried in seven other cases including three relating to murder. He contested from inside the jail, where he was lodged after being arrested from Berhampur in December 2008. He was granted bail in December 2009 and has since been attending assembly proceedings.

The BJP MLA was reported as saying he would appeal against the verdict before he was taken to Phulbani jail. "The people of my constituency know what I am. I have full faith in the judiciary."

The murdered of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008 had sparked off large scale violence against the Christians in Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa. The Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder of the Hindu leader.

An appeal to write to authorities

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Orissa appealing him to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.

Shri Navin Patnaik
Chief Minister of Orissa
Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, P.O. Bhubaneswar
Distt. Khurda, Pin - 751 001 (Orissa)
[email protected]

(O) Tel: (0674) 2531100 ; 2535100 ; 2531500
(O) Fax: (0674) 2400100
(R) Tel: (0674) 2590299

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations