Source : Indlaw
Dismissing CBI's plea for death penalty to Dara Singh, convicted for burning alive Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in 1999 in Orissa, the Supreme Court today upheld his life imprisonment awarded by the Orissa High Court.
Dara Singh was annoyed with Staines for 'encouraging religious conversions from Hinduism to Christianity.' The three were roasted alive when their Jeep was set afire outside a church in Keonjhar district, Orissa, on January 22, 1999. They were working for the welfare of tribals in the state which was not liked by Sangh Parivar activists who were strongly opposed to the conversions of low caste Hindus and tribals to Christianity.
Dara Singh was sentenced to death by the Khurda sessions court for the brutal triple murders but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Orissa High Court.
A bench comprising Justice V S Sirpurkar upheld the judgement of Orissa High Court saying that the impugned judgement does not call for any interference from the court.
However, the Orissa High Court had acquitted 11 others who were awarded life terms by the trial court in the case.
The wife of the slain missionary left India last year and is said to have forgiven Dara Singh.