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February 2, 2000
'I wanted to teach Staines a lesson, not kill him'
Bibhuti Mishra in Bhubaneswar
Following are extracts of what Rabindrapal Singh aka Dara Singh told the police during his interrogation yesterday, according to police sources.
"I was born on October 2 [ironically, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday] in 1962. My name is Rabindrapal Singh and my elder brother, Arabinda Pal Singh, works in the NTPC [National Thermal Power Corporation]. I belong to Village Kakur under Dibyapur police station in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. I have four sisters, all married.
"Before coming to Orissa, I was working at Tata India in Delhi where one Chittaranjan Das of Maliposhi in Mayurbhanj district was my coworker. Chittaranjan's elder brother Dipu Das had once come to Delhi and I got in touch with him. Then I left for Maliposhi in 1989. I had come in search of work. First it was a grocery business, then garments. I had a first-year arts degree and had passed 'Ratna' in Hindi. So I served as a Hindi teacher for some time.
"After coming to Orissa, I came to know of the Muslim traders who were selling cattle outside. I also came to know of mass conversions. Thus I developed hatred towards Muslims and Christians. I used to rescue unfortunate cows from the clutches of Muslim butchers.
"I came to know of Graham Staines from Mahesh Hembrum. I reacted strongly to his proselytisation drive. I wanted to teach him a lesson, not kill him. The event was beyond my wildest imagination.
"On that day, 22 January 1999, when Staines was beaten to death by a group of people, I was there, watching it from a distance, but I did not set them ablaze. In fact I did not know that the two young sons of Staines were there. I felt unhappy about their death.
"The Staines were sleeping in one of the two vehicles parked near the church at Manoharpur. He was set afire because this is the Hindu ritual. You may call me a Hindu fundamentalist, but I have no contact with any political party.
"The police have not arrested me. I have surrendered. The police were hot on my trail and things became unbearable after the Arul Doss murder in Jamubani. Yesterday I knew the police were there [in the Guhari forest]. I was not fooled. Had I wanted to escape I could have easily done. But I had made up my mind to surrender. I had become desperate after the police became ruthless at the instance of then chief minister J B Patnaik. I was regularly keeping in touch with the news and had clippings of the Oriya newspapers that ran stories on me. My fight is against conversions, but I did not want to kill the Australian missionary."
Dara Singh arrested
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