Two convicted, 10 acquitted in Kandhamal riots cases


Bhubaneswar : A fast track court in Orissa sentenced two people to two years’ imprisonment and acquitted 10 people in two Kandhamal riots cases, an official said Thursday.

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Ratnakar Pradhan and Parsuram Pradhan of Ketemaha village under Raikia police station area were accused of torching Sanu Naik’s house Aug 26, 2008. They were booked under several charges.

The charge of torching the house could not be proved but they were convicted for mischief causing damage, unlawful assembly and rioting, public prosecutor P.K. Patra told IANS.

They were also fined Rs.2,500 by Judge Chittaranjan Mohanty Wednesday.

“If they fail to pay the fine, they will have to undergo an additional six-and-half months of jail term,” Patra said.

In another case, the court in Kandhamal district acquitted 10 people as charges against them could not be proved.

Filima Nayak and others from Tikabali area accused them of torching houses along the way when Swami Laxmanananda’s body was being taken in a procession.

“The charges levelled by Filima Nayak and others could not be proved,” Patra said.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

The Orissa government set up two fast track courts to try the riot cases.