14 get jail terms for Kandhamal riots

Saturday, November 20, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - A fast track court in Orissa Saturday sentenced 14 people to three years of rigorous imprisonment for their involvement in the communal riots in Kandhamal district of the state in 2008.

Judge C.R. Das of the fast track court No. 2 at district headquarters of Phulbani sentenced seven people to three years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.4,500 each for burning down houses in Budamaha village, under Raikia police station, a defence lawyer told IANS.

The judge also sentenced seven others to three years of rigorous imprisonments and a fine of Rs.6,500 each for burning houses in Sindherigaon village, under Baliguda police station area, he said.

However, six people were acquitted of charges of burning houses at Sudeli village under G. Udayagiri police station.

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

At least 38 people were killed and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by mobs, who accused Christians for killing Saraswati, although police had blamed the Maoists for the ashram killings.

The state government set up two fast track courts in the district for speedy trial of the cases.

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