Kandhamal riots: BJP MLA sentenced to 7 years RI
Debabrata Mohanty Posted online: Tue Jun 29 2010, 17:11 hrs
Orissa : A fast track court in Kandhamal district of Orissa today
sentenced BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan to 7 years rigorous imprisonment for
his role in the 2008 Kandhamal communal riots.
The judgement was pronounced by fast track court-I judge Sobhan Kumar
Das while disposing of a case relating to murder of Parikhita Nayak, a
Dalit Christian from Budedi village under Raikia police station limit
on August 27, 2008.
The two-month-long riot, triggered by the killing of VHP leader
Laxmanananda Saraswati, claimed 43 lives and witnessed burning of
about 4600 houses and over 150 churches and prayer houses along with
large scale violence.
Pradhan was also accused of setting on fire houses of people belonging
to the minority community.
Additional public prosecutor B Patnaik said Pradhan was convicted
under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly) and 326 of IPC.
He was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 5000.
Pradhan, the 36-year-old BJP MLA from G Udaygiri constituency, had 14
cases - half of them murder - lodged against him over his alleged link
with last year's riot in Kandhamal. He was arrested in October 2008
and fought 2009 assembly election behind the bars of G Udaygiri
sub-jail successfully after majority Hindu votes polarised in his
G Udaygiri bore the brunt of 2008 communal violence as several
Christians were killed and chased away from their homes by murderous
tribal Hindus most of whom were allegedly led by Pradhan.
Pradhan said he would appeal before the Orissa High Court against the
order. "I have the highest regard for the judiciary. I have faith in
God," he told The Indian Express.
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