[QODLink]
Archive
Hindu fanatic appeals murder conviction
A Hindu fanatic sentenced to death for killing an Australian Christian missionary and his two young sons has appealed against his conviction.
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2003 15:16 GMT
Singh formed a militant group to stop the spread of Christianity in India
A Hindu fanatic sentenced to death for killing an Australian Christian missionary and his two young sons has appealed against his conviction.

On September 15, a court in the eastern Indian state of Orissa found Dara Singh and 12 others guilty of burning to death missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa in January 1999.

A week later, Judge Mahendra Nath Patnaik ordered Singh to the gallows because the murder case was “the rarest of rare.” 

Staines was a 57-year old Baptist missionary, who had worked in India since 1965, treating leprosy patients.

On January 23, 1999, Singh – described as an activist against religious conversion  - led a mob which surrounded Staines’ station wagon in the remote village of Manoharpur, as the missionary and his children slept inside.

The crowd chanted anti-Christian slogans and blocked the Australians’ escape by brandishing axes before torching the car, burning to death Staines and his sons Philip, 8, and Timothy, 10.

Witness interference

Singh’s petition, filed in the Orissa High Court on Friday, said investigations into the case were “biased and perfunctory” in nature. He said there were several discrepancies in the statements of eyewitnesses and extra judicial confessions were “not true and voluntary”. 

Singh also alleged that witnesses were “tutored” and “influenced” while in police custody.

Anti-Christian sentiment
 
The court heard Singh had formed a group of local tribesmen to kill Staines in order to stop the spread of Christianity. The other 12 who were convicted were sentenced to life in prison but spared the gallows because the court ruled they were manipulated by Singh.

Singh, whose real name is Ravinda Pal, was arrested in Orissa’s forests a year after the Staines murders.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.