Failure of law and justice worries Christians in Orissa
“Only 89 persons have been convicted so far while as many as 251 have been acquitted and set free for want to witnesses against them,”
By John Malhotra
02/10/2010 India (Christian Today)-The travesty of justice in Kandhamal courts is deeply worrying church leaders in Orissa.
According to Archbishop of Orissa Raphael Cheenath, witnesses are being coerced, threatened, cajoled and sought to be bribed by murderers and arsonists facing trial.
The witnesses are also threatened in their homes with elimination, and even their distant relatives are being coerced specially in the murder and arson cases against Legislative Assembly Member Manoj Pradhan, said Cheenath.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, the senior church leader called for a Special Investigation team to probe the cases of murder and arson. Similarly, he said, there is also need for transferring the cases against politically powerful persons such as Manoj Pradhan, MLA, to outside Kandhamal, preferably to Cuttack or Bhubaneswar .
“We are deeply concerned the high rate of acquittals in the fast Track courts. The victims filed 3,232 Complaints in the police stations of Kandhamal. Of these, the police registered cases in only 832 instances,” Cheenath later said in a press statement.
“Only 89 persons have been convicted so far while as many as 251 have been acquitted and set free for want to witnesses against them,” Cheenath pointed.