SC orders bail for one of the seven innocents of Kandhamal violence

SC orders bail for one of the seven innocents of Kandhamal violence

May 9, 2019

Cuttack, May 9, 2019: The Supreme Court of India on May 9 granted bail to Gornath Chalanseth, one of the seven innocent Christians languishing in jail for a decade due to the alleged Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a hard-line Hindu group, fraud on Kandhamal, on bail application led by ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) legal team.

The New Delhi-based ADF, a Christian rights’ group and an advocacy organization, protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.

Gornath along with six others including mentally challenged Munda Badamajhi had been convicted to life imprisonment by a third judge in 2013 abruptly after two judges had been transferred.

While their bail pleas had been twice rejected by the Odisha High Court, Cuttack, last in December 2018, their appeals against the conviction by subversion of the judicial system has been dragging on for over five years in the Odisha High Court, said Anto Akkara, a senior journalist and author, who has been advocating help releasing those seven innocents, among others, including ADF.

“The Good News came when I was driving back home from addressing Prison Ministry of India (Kerala assembly) at Quilon,” Akkara told Matters India.

“This bail order is a landmark and huge victory in the fight for justice for Kandhamal’s seven innocents. This bail order of the Supreme Court, led by the ADF legal team, I hope, will be the first step towards acquittal of the innocent Christians languishing in jail for a decade for a crime they never committed,” he added.

One of his initiatives is an online signature campaign in favour of these hapless Christians by signing the online petition for their release- at www.release7innocents com – that sends instant emails to the Chief Justice of India besides the President of India, Odisha High Court and the National Human Rights Commission that has played one-eyed Jack on Kandhamal to cover up the Sangh Parivar fraud, said Akkara, who has traveled Kandhamal several times and written several books on the subject including groundbreaking and investigating ‘Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?’ and produced a documentary ‘INNOCENTS IMPRISONED’ in English, Odia, Hindi or Malayalam.

Chalenseth should be hopefully released early next week from Phulbani jail in Kandhamal. Chalenseth had been released on parole in January 2018, according to Akkara,

His book ‘Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?’ questions the conviction of seven Christians in the sensational murder of Saraswati in Odisha’s Kandhamal on August 23, 2008.

Akkara has launched online petition for the release of those seven Christians that would generate at least three instant e-mails messages to the Chief Justice of India, President of India and Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of India.

The murder of the Hindu religious leader and his associates in a Hindu religious center in Kandhamal triggered unprecedented violence that lasted four months and claimed nearly 100 lives and rendered more than 56,000 homeless.

The Kandhamal district of Odisha had been experiencing sectarian tension for decades saw first organized violence during Christmas in 2007. Seven Christians were convicted for the swami’s assassination.

Thousands have been praying have been praying for Kandhamal’s seven innocent Christians. They are Bhaskar Sunamajhi, Bijay Sanseth, Budhadev Nayak, Durjo Sunamajhi, Gornath Chalanseth, Munda Badamajhi and Sanatan Badamajhi. A district court convicted them in 2013, which is being challenged in the High Court in Cuttack. Its hearing is being postponed for several times.

Human rights activists, social workers, journalists and church leaders have contested the convictions of the Christians as it was based on a conspiracy theory which lacked evidence and authenticity and becomes a most questionable matter.

Source: Matters India


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