Staines killing worse than carnage, apex court toldNovember 11th, 2010 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday was told that the 1999 lynching of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons by Dara Singh and his band of Hindu fanatics was worse than a carnage.
Staines’ two sons Philip Staines, 10, and Timoti Staines, 7, were also burnt alive by the assailants. After setting Staines on fire, the crowd of 60-odd tribals shouted slogans “Dara Singh zindabad” and “Bajrang Bali zindabad”.
“It was worse than a carnage. The hands, legs and the skull of the Graham Staines were burnt,” Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), told the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan.
The investigating agency which is seeking the restoration of death sentence of Dara Singh and the reversal of the acquittal of 11 other accused, said that no body involved in committing such a dastardly and cruel act should escape its consequences.
Dara Singh and 11 others were accused of killing Staines and his two children by burning them alive at Manoharpur village while they were sleeping in their vehicle Jan 22, 1999.
Dara Singh was awarded death sentence by the trial court and other 11 accused received varying terms of sentences. However, the Orissa High Court reduced Dara Singh’s death sentence to life imprisonment and acquitted the others.
Assailing the high court judgment, Tankha said that if killing of Staines by Dara Singh and his fanatical band was not an agreement to kill then there could be no other agreement for such a heinous act.
“The high court was pinpricking on very very small issues whereas it was expected to look at the larger issue,” Tankha told the court.
Justice Chauhan observed that “such a sensitive case was dealt in such a casual manner”.
The court was told that Dara Singh and another accused Dipu triggered the gruesome incident in the area where Hindus and Christians were living in complete harmony. The hearing will continue Tuesday.