Monday, April 27, 2009

Revisiting the Dara Singh-Graham Staines incident

After seeing how the media handled the recent Kandhamal incident with blatantly biased (read anti-hindu) reporting and fabricated reports I thought I should check up on what might have actually happened in the Graham Staines incident. This time I went through news articles relating to that incident again to see how the media cooked up stuff to mould public and world opinion to paint anything Hindu as evil.

The fact that the state government did nothing to prevent conversion in Orissa even thought it is illegal only shows how useless naveen Patnaik really is. I now strongly suspect that Dara Singh is innocent and what actually happened was a trial by media which forced the State government to take action against innocent people.

Here are some articles which I found quite interesting,

(The latest on Dara Singh-2008 article)

"The conviction of Dara is solely on the basis of mere presumption, which is contrary to the principles of criminal justice and devoid of law," the petition filed by his counsel Sibo Sankar Mishra said. "However, the High Court had acquitted 11 others who were awarded life terms by the trial court in the case that had sparked worldwide outrage in 1999. Does that mean the trial court was totally incompetent?"
Pointing out loopholes in the evidence, the High court had said it was "risky" and "dangerous" to convict so many accused on the basis of speculative evidence of a witness who did not disclose the matter to anyone except a CBI officer five months after the incident."

"No. I didn't kill them. But I spearheaded the movement against missionaries. I was also actively involved in the movement against illegal trade in cows and cowslaughter. Since I was possibly the most famous name in the region, the police implicated me in the killings. The day the Staines were killed at Manoharpur, I was at least 12-13 km away from the place. But yes, I did not like Graham Staines. For that matter, I never liked missionaries."

"Instead he digresses on the Commission's report on Staines' character: ''Who says he was a good man? Ask any local person. There was forcible conversion and Dara is popular and yet to be nabbed because the local people shield him for fighting such conversion," he fumes."

(He seems to have had a huge support from the local people! How would that be possible if the local people did not approve of his activities. Is it possible that he is innocent? Also, he actually surrendered to the police since the cops were torturing the innocent tribals!!)
(We know how reliable the CBI is!!)

"However, Mahendra Hembram, another accused in the case, stood by his earlier statement before the court. In a written statement in February last year, Hembram, a resident of Manoharpur, had claimed that he had set fire to the vehicle in which the victims were sleeping.The remaining accused were innocent, he said."

"The case had come under intense media scrutiny considering that foreign citizens and the issue of religious conversions were involved. (Not at all surprising is it?)."

(So no one is supposed to have a different opinion)

Notice that the BJP raised its tally from 9 seats in 1995 to 38 seats in 2000 (a year after this happened-shows the public opinion)

I found a comment from the internet in a forum requesting signatures for a petition in Singh's name,
"Bhaskar, I don't know if you are joking or are you serious? The whole Indian press has already made him guilty even before proving if he's innocent or guilty. And there's enough evidence to prove that he was not there at the scene of the crime but the courts don't want to know, all they want to do is convict him and make him the scape goat for the murder of one WHITE Christian missionary. So many Hindus get killed all the time, but do ever see the Indian media highlight those crimes?? Never!! For example, last week a Hindu priest was killed while praying in Tripura by Christian backed militants, did the Indian media give it any coverage?? None at all !! I bet you don't even know about it yourself?? Signing the online petition may be the least we can do at the moment but at least, the pseudosecularists in India will get the message that Hindu's around theworld are watching and will act against injustices on Hindu's like Dara Singh."

The best of the lot is this brillaint analysis on the subject by Arun Shourie:

The Wadhwa commision which was set up to investigate the killing came up with very interesting conclusions. Here are some excerpts from Shourie's analysis of the commission's report.

"On the face of it, the report of the Wadhwa Commission on the murder of the Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons should have been very welcome to our secular friends. Justice Wadhwa has concluded that the main person who organised the attack was Rabindra Kumar Pal alias Dara Singh, and that his motive in doing so was "misplaced fundamentalism", namely his conviction that conversions by missionaries were threatening Hinduism. He also records evidence to the effect that Dara Singh had been involved in an activity which, in the eyes of secularists, is as deplorable as an activity can get: protection of cows from slaughter.
But no, the secularists are all in rage. "A stained report," "A whitewash," "A politically tutored report" -- they have been shouting. Justice Wadhwa has failed the litmus test: if only he had included a sentence -- a single sentence! -- imputing -- howsoever obliquely -- that Dara Singh was in some way affiliated to some organization that can be linked to the RSS or the BJP, what applause would have greeted the Report! "

"The second incident occurred on 7 February, 1999. Two children, aged 10 and 19, were found murdered, a third had sustained injuries. "This incident again attracted a great deal of publicity in the media, including electronic media," writes Justice Wadhwa. "Newspapers came up with the headings, 'Two Christians killed, one injured in Orissa,' '2 tribal Christians done to death in Kandhamal,' and 'Orissa hunts for Christians' killer'. Additional D. G. P. John Nayak reportedly said that the communal angle to the attempted rape and murder could not be ruled out...." "A certain political party even blamed the State and Central Governments," Justice Wadhwa recalls, "and stated that the inaction of the State Government in the Manoharpur missionary killing incident (the killing of Staines and his sons) and the alleged rape of the nun in Baripada encouraged miscreants to commit yet another crime in Kandhamal." "In short," he concludes, "as per various reports that appeared in the newspapers, the incident was taken as an attack on the Christians."
And what turned out to be the truth? "Ultimately investigation revealed that the crime was committed by a relative of the victims who was also a Christian," the Commission notes. "

"That is one lesson, and Justice Wadhwa draws special attention to it: the press should not rush to conclusions before it has investigated the facts. The facts he has recorded urge that the caution be made specific: the press should be particularly wary of going by allegations of communalism-mongers.
The second institution which comes out most poorly is the Minorities Commission. For quite some time now, this Commission has been putting out patently partisan reports, reports so partisan as to appear to be designed to inflame. It is all too the good, therefore, that in the course of his inquiries into the incidents, Justice Wadhwa has given us a glimpse into the way it goes about its work. The incident I postponed mentioning is typical. "

"B. B. Panda, who was then Director General of Police, Orissa, told the Commission that the New Indian Express -- that is, the southern editions of the Indian Express -- of 25 January, 1999, quoted him as saying, "over 50 people suspected to be activists of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were involved in the incident, and so far 47 persons have been arrested." He told the Commission that as he had not said this, he sent the paper a contradiction. The paper did not publish the contradiction. "

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