12 convicted, two let off in Kandhamal riot case

Bhubaneswar, Nov 28 (Inditop.com) A fast track court Saturday jailed 12 people for four years while acquitting two others in a 2008 Kandhamal riots case, an official said.

Judge C.R. Das sentenced the 12 to concurrent jail terms of four years and one year and a Rs.2000 fine after convicting them of arson and unlawful assembly under sections 436 and 148 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Two other accused were acquitted for lack of evidence.

“Twelve people have been convicted for torching the house and rice mill and looting the household valuables of Dubaraj Digal of Kharpiguda village under Baliguda police station area Aug 25, 2008,” public prosecutor P.K. Patra said.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year. More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, which held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing although police blamed the Maoists.

The government has set up two fast track courts to try cases related to the communal violence.