Nine people sent to jail for burning houses in Kandhamal

Monday, December 27, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - A court in Orissa Monday sentenced nine people to five years’ rigorous imprisonment for burning down a dozen houses during the 2008 communal riots that killed at least 38 people in Kandhamal district.

Judge Sobhan Kumar Das of a fast track court at Phulbani town handed down the sentence to the accused, aged between 20-45 years, for burning down the houses at Sumarbandha and Dabangapadar villages Sep 1, 2008, defence lawyer Ajit Patnaik told IANS.

The judge also slapped a fine of Rs.5,000 on each of the accused. Failure to pay the fine would entail an additional one year of rigorous imprisonment, he ruled.

The court acquitted three people for lack of evidence.

The riots broke out after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides in his ashram Aug 23, 2008, in Kandhamal, about 200 km from Bhubaneswar.

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. The attackers accused Christians for killing Saraswati, although police 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.

will not be displayed