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Humanity not yet fully civilised: Judge
September 23, 2003 18:22 IST
District and Sessions Judge, Khurda, M N Patnaik, while sentencing Dara Singh, the main accused in the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons, said: "This is one of the rarest of rare cases and survival of an orderly society demands imposition of capital punishment."
Also see: Dara Singh sentenced to death | Complete coverage
The judge, in his 153-page judgment, said the brutal murders in Manoharpur on June 23, 1999 proved that the humanity is not yet fully civilised.
The court sentenced 12 others to life imprisonment in the case.
The judge said by burning two innocent small boys along with their father while they were asleep, Dara Singh, "the prima donna of the offence, has added a new chapter to the rhyme book of children which may read like this: 'I met murder on the way. It had a massacre like Dara Singh'."
Dara Singh led a militant tribal group opposing missionary activities in Manoharpur and other nearby areas.
"We have just enough religion to make us hate each other and not enough religion to make us love each other," the judge said quoting Jonathan Swift.
Dara Singh was awarded capital punishment under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.
The death sentence is subject to confirmation by the Orissa high court.
The judge said there are Supreme Court judgments which have laid down the principle that death punishment should be reserved only for the rarest of rare cases.
The judge rejected the defence argument that the vehicle in which the Staines were sleeping had caught fire due to an electric short-circuit in its battery.
He also overruled the objections on discrepancies in depositions of prosecution witnesses.
The circumstances culminating in the gruesome crime led to the conclusion that there was an agreement among the accused to kill the Staines, the judge said.
The judge also referred to the extra-judicial confession made by Dara Singh before two prosecution witnesses which the accused subsequently retracted.