Graham Staines case: Supreme Court refuses death penalty

New Delhi: January 21, 2011 - The Supreme Court has upheld the life sentence for Dara Singh for killing Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Orissa in 1999. Singh’s accomplice, Mahendra Hembram, has also been sentenced to life in prison. 

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wanted the death sentence for Singh, who was linked with Hindu right-wing group Bajrang Dal. 

The Staines family was burnt alive in Keonjhar. Graham Staines had worked with leprosy patients in Orissa for 30 years. He was sleeping with his sons, aged 8 and 10, in a car on their way home on a cold January night. A mob in Manoharpur village poured petrol over the Staines’ car and set fire to it.

The Staines tried to escape, but a mob of about 50 people allegedly prevented them.

In 2003, a trial court in Khurda convicted all 13 accused. While Dara Singh was awarded the death sentence, the others were sentenced to life in prison. In 2005, the Orissa High Court commuted Singh’s sentence to life. The High Court convicted Hembram along with Singh, and acquitted 11 others.

The Supreme Court said today, “We hope Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of religion playing a positive development integrating into a prosperous nation will be realized. There is no justification from interfering in someone’s belief through force, conversion or false premise that one religion is better than the other.”   

Reacting to the court’s verdict and comments, Father Babu Joseph, spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, said, “We accept it (the verdict) as the outcome of years of legal procedure. Two innocent children and father were killed in a brutal manner. They were serving lepers for many years.  The allegations made that they were involved in religious conversions were utterly baseless. It’s a serious reminder that there are organizations in this country operating with a hate agenda which want to create hate between different communities.” He also stressed that all religious groups have the constitutional right to propagate their religion. (NDTV)

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Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist

About Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist, Ph.D., D. Litt., D Sc. (H.C), Editor-in-Chief of International Reporter, Chairman Media International Ltd., Born on 15 January 1927 in Montgomery, now in Pakistan. Internationally known, man of letters with over dozen of books and thousands of articles to his credit on various subjects including theories on the Creation of the Universe, the Black Holes, Supernovas and other functions of the Universe, Nature and Life , which he described both ways, philosophically and scientifically. He further elaborated how the entire Cosmos were formed. He holds spiritual wisdom of predicting and curing powers of the human problems, so much so, he is popularly known as Destiny Repairer, hence people call him with respect as Swamy Ji. He got the privilege of leading various Parliamentary Delegations abroad on good will missions; he also got the privilege of being invited by differnt Heads of State on state visits. He is the Founder of God Believers (GBA) who place belief in “FAITH”, Universal Modern Religion. FAITH is not a religion but a human service, an encyclopedia of creating healthy balance between Science and God. The main purpose of this mission is to defend the Identity of God from Scientists on one hand and to help fight Global Environmental Abuses, to create awareness of high risks of Excessive Nuclear Stockpiles, global service to the Human Rights and Justice on the other. He is a very simple man, he commands special respect as a holy man with high spiritualism and people address him as His Holiness. He is equally dedicated to the cause of media and journalism where he has been serving the people through his writing for over 50 years; he has also served as Member of Press Council of India. His main aim is to serve the humanity and all kinds of life on the Earth, to serve the elders, women and children, the blind, crippled, lepers and the needy, he is committed to save the Mother Earth from the abuses caused by humans and the nature through the social mission of God Believers (GBA), which also serves the World Peace. In short, he is a global social reformer. Google