Prayers mark Staines’ 10th death anniversary in Orissa

January 23rd, 2009 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 23 (IANS) Special prayers were held Friday at the grave of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines, who was burnt to death along with his two sons by a Hindu radical mob 10 years ago. His widow Gladys Staines and daughter Esther led over 300 people to offered prayers and floral tributes at the grave in Baripada town, around 350 km from here, a district police official said over telephone.

“The scene was charged with emotion when the inmates of the Leprosy Home, which Graham Staines set up in the town, embraced Gladys and Esther turn by turn to share their grief,” the official told IANS.

On Jan 22, 1999, Graham Staines and his two sons, 10-year-old Philip and six-year-old Timothy, were burnt alive while they were asleep in their vehicle by a mob led by Dara Singh in Manoharpur, a village in Keonjhar district.

In September 2003, the district and sessions court of Khurda sentenced Dara Singh to death and handed down life terms to 12 of his associates. But in May 2005, the Orissa High Court commuted Singh’s death penalty to life imprisonment.

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