A fast track court in Orissa convicted 13 persons on Wednesday for their involvement in anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district in 2008, while another court acquitted 12 others. “All the cases were related to arson,” public prosecutor PK Patra said. Kandhamal’s district headquarter Phulbani is 250 km south-east of Bhubaneswar.
First Track Court I judge Shobhan Das handed the each of the 13 persons over a punishment of five years’ rigorous jail term and fine of Rs 2000.
Fast Track Court II judge BN Mishra, on the other hand, acquitted 12 others for lack of evidence.
The riots, which took place in August 2008, were the worst in the history of Orissa.
They were triggered by the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda by suspected Maoists.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), however, blamed the Christian community for his murder.
At least 38 persons were killed in the riots. Thousands of houses were raged to the ground. Thousands of people left their villages to take shelter in refugee camps.
The Orissa government had set up two fast track courts to try the cases related to the violence. The courts have convicted more than 150 persons for their role in the riots.
Kandhamal riots case: Court sentences 13 to 5-year imprisonment
A fast track court in Orissa sentenced 13 people to five years imprisonment today for their involvement in 2008 Kandhamal riots.
Additional sessions judge of Fast Track Court-II, Biranchi Narayan Mishra, while convicting the 13, also imposed a penalty of Rs 2,000 on each.
According to the prosecution, the convicts were involved in rioting, arson and torching of houses in Sartaguda village under Tikabali police station in September, 2008 after the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.
In another judgement, the court acquitted 12 people who had been arrested by Phiringia police on charges of unlawful assembly with deadly weapons in Sripalla village on December 30, 2007.
The area witnessed violence in December 2007.