South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

New Delhi, Jan 21: The Supreme court of India, has upheld the life sentence for Dara Singh, the prime accused in the Graham Staines murder case. It has also served life sentence to his accomplice Mahendra Hembram.

The duo have been convicted for the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his children.

The judgement comes as a blow to the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI), which was fighting for a death sentence to Dara Singh and his accomplice. The supreme court also upheld the acquittal of eleven other people in the case.

Dara Singh, allegedly associated with the Bajrang Dal, is said to have burnt alive Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons Odisha in 1999 to protest against religious conversions in the tribal regions of the state.

In May 2005, the Odisha High Court commuted the death sentence given to Dara Singh by a sessions court which was later challenged by the CBI in the supreme court.

CBI, in its prosecution had asked for a death sentence as the murder,it said was committed in a “diabolic and dastardly manner” and should thus be meted out with exemplary punishment.

CBI’s counsel had argued, “It was not a simple conspiracy but a dastardly conspiracy in which three innocent hapless victims were beaten and burnt alive in a car.”