08/29/2009, 00.00
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Orissa, acquitted for lack of evidence one of the brains behind anti-Christian pogrom

by Nirmala Carvalho
Charges of arson against Manoj Pradhan, one of 14 charges against him, are dropped. BJP leader and elected to the legislature of Orissa, he is accused of killing 7 Christians. Activists denounce the inaction of the administration in punishing those responsible for crimes.

Kandhamal (AsiaNews) - Manoj Pradhan was acquitted of arson, in one of the 14 charges against pending against him. He is one of the brains of the pogrom against Christians in Orissa, a local court has acquitted him for "lack of evidence." The Court's decision casts Christian activists into confusion, who report yet another case of government "inertia" in "punishing those responsible" for violence.

Manoj Pradhan, an right-wing activist belonging to the Hindu nationalist movement Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and recently elected to the Legislative Assembly of Orissa, is accused of 14 instances of violence, including 7 murders of Christians. One concerns an arson attack on the village of Pisamaha, August 27, 2008, in which many homes of Christian families were destroyed. Gutia Digal, a resident of the village, lodged a complaint against Pradhan; in the trial initiated against him, the court decided to acquit because the evidence "is insufficient to issue a verdict."

Harsh reaction from Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who speaks of "inertia of the administration in seeing justice done for the atrocities committed against Christians." He denounces the "free hand enjoyed by the Sangh Parivar, the Hindu nationalist movement," in attacking and killing Christians, burning and destroying houses and property in Kandhamal, where many of the guilty "still roam freely and unpunished”.

The GCIC once again calls for "justice" and "measures" against those who want to "intimidate the Christians who testify" in the trails surrounding events in Orissa. "The state is failing - adds Sajan K George - in the primary task of using his power to ensure security and justice ... The GCIC has a list of 123 people killed (the total number of deaths exceeds 500, note) during anti-violence -Christian".

The Christian activist, finally, points also denounces "inadequate compensation" and "massive delays" in compensation for victims of violence, along with possible "cases of corruption by officials" of state government.

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See also
Orissa: for the first time the government acknowledges the role of Hindu movements in 2008 pogrom
Orissa spending 4 million rupees to rebuild churches
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