Fourteen years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death by a mob, two more suspects have been arrested from Odisha’s (formerly known as Orissa) Keonjhar district.
Long-sought fugitives Ghanshyam Mahanta and Ramjan Mahanta were arrested on 17 May during a raid by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials and the Keonjhar police. A third individual has still not been located.
Graham Staines and his sons, Philip and Timothy, were burnt to death on 22 January 1999 – by a mob led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh. Graham and his sons were asleep in their station wagon in front of a church in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar, about 400km northwest of Bhubaneswar.
In 2003, a CBI court in Bhubaneswar initially sentenced Dara Singh with the death penalty and the others to life imprisonment. In 2005, the Odisha high court commuted the activist leader’s death sentence to life imprisonment.
Sources: Assist News Service, The Hindustan Times, Voice of the Martyrs
• Pray that the Lord will continue to nurture the seeds of the Gospel that have been sown through this family’s strong Christian witness and the forgiveness extended by Graham’s surviving wife Gladys and their daughter Esther.
• Pray for all those who oppose the Gospel in India.