[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
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.