07/22/2011, 00.00
INDIA

In a parody of justice, accused in Kandhamal pogrom get rigorous imprisonment and fines

Nirmala Carvalho
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, slams the sentencing of nine people involved in the violence. Priest in Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar says he expected “life in prison or the death penalty”.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “This is a parody of justice that reopens deep wounds among the victims of anti-Christian pogroms,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). He spoke in response to the conviction of nine people involved in arson, murder, breaking the peace and unlawful assembly during the 2008 anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (Orissa). They were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment and fines of 11,000 rupees (US$ 250) each.

Fr Dibya Singh, from Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, calls the decision “ridiculous” and a “serious injustice against the Christians of Kandhamal”.

Rigorous imprisonment and fine are not sufficient, according to the priest, who plans to appeal to the High Court. “It is a case of murder and homes set on fire. We expected life in prison or the death penalty.”

The GCIC president noted that those responsible for the 2008 violence are aware of the authorities’ complicity and therefore of their own impunity.

In the meantime, “The Christian community in Kandhamal continues to live in fear because of intimidation from Hindutva extremists who can freely move from village to village.”

The Global Council of Indian Christians has filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission to investigate serious human rights violations against Christians in Kandhamal, which continue today with justice denied.
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