Key player in anti-Christian riots in Orissa, India released on bail
Less than one month after an Indian state legislator, Manoj Pradhan was sentenced to seven years for murder (see http://theundergroundsite.com/?s=Manoj+Pradhan+) and other heinous crimes, he was released on bail pending appeal.
The decision by Justice B.P. Ray left Christians stunned at the bias in the politician’s favor, according to Compass Direct News.
Pradhan was a key player in the August-September 2008 anti-Christian riots in Orissa state, east India where about 100 Christians were murdered and some 4,600 houses, 252 churches, and 13 schools were destroyed.
He was charged with rioting with deadly weapons, destroying evidence, unlawful assembly, murder, wrongful confinement, wrongful restraint, causing grievous hurt with dangerous weapons, and destruction of houses with incendiaries, CDN said.
In the end, Pradhan was only convicted of rioting and inflicting grievous hurt in the murder of Parikhita Nayak, 31, who was beaten and murdered in front of his wife and two daughters.
Attorney Bibhu Dutta Das said usually people convicted of these crimes do not merit bail, and yet Pradhan got bail seven days after he applied for it.
John Dayal who heads the All India Christian Council expressed surprise and said, “While it is a legal right for anybody to get bail, it is surprising that Pradhan was wanted in so many cases, and he can coerce and influence witnesses,” CDN said.
The court also issued a stay order on a $107 fine that Pradhan was expected to pay. Das said the stay order was placed even without consulting the Lower Court Record, CDN said.
Nayak’s widow expressed disappointment with the bail noting, “I went through several life threats, but still I took my daughters for hearings whenever I was called by the court, risking my daughters’ lives – certainly not for this day.”
The bail order includes a warning to Pradhan to refrain from intimidating witnesses, stating, “The petitioner shall not threaten the witnesses examined.” Nonetheless, Nayak’s widow and two little girls are now in hiding, according to CDN.