14 years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burned to death in their sleep by a right wing mob, two suspects were arrested last week.
According to The Hundu, 37-year-old Ghanshyam Mahanta and 34-year-old Ramjan Mahanta were arrested on Friday morning during a raid by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation officials and the Keonjhar police.
The third individual is still on the run.
The Hindustan Times reported that in an incident that drew international outrage, Staines, 58, and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6, were burned to death on Jan. 22 1999 by a mob led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh. Staines and his sons were asleep in their station wagon in front of a church in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar, about 400km northwest of Bhubaneswar, when the mob set his vehicle on fire.
- The Hindustan Times said a total of 18 people, including Dara Singh, were arrested for their involvement in the crime while three others were on the run.
- In 2003, a CBI court in Bhubaneswar sentenced Singh to death and 12 others to life.
- In 2005, the Hindustan Times reported, the Orissa high court commuted Singh’s death sentence to life imprisonment. The court, however, retained the life imprisonment awarded to the other accused.
- In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld Orissa high court’s life imprisonment for Singh and his accomplices.
Staines’ wife and daughter now live in Australia.
BELOW, READ the 2011 – ORIGINAL POST on the burning death of Graham Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy:
(via) Randy Alcorn from his Eternal Perspective Ministries.
On January 23rd of 1999, Graham and his two sons, Phillip (11 yrs.) and Timothy (6 yrs.) were murdered by a large mob of militant Hindus. They had gone to a Christian camp in the jungle, where Graham was ministering. At midnight the mob attacked, setting fire to the jeep in which Graham and his sons were sleeping. They were burned alive. When the fire finally cooled, they found the charred body of Graham Staines with his arms around the bodies of his sons.
Graham served the Lord in the jungles of Orissa for over 34 years. He was described as “a wonderful, gracious, self-effacing man of God, full of faith, confidence and humility; warm-hearted, and a wonderful father.” At his funeral, the streets were thronged with masses of people—Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They were there to show respect for Graham and his family and to show their solidarity against the actions of the killers. Despite the fact that persecution of Christians has increased in recent years, the president of India came forward and said, “that someone who spent years caring for patients of leprosy, instead of being thanked and appreciated as a role model should be done to death in this manner is… a crime that belongs to the world’s inventory of black deeds.”
The response of Gladys and Esther was on the front page of every newspaper in India (with one billion people, soon to pass China as the most populous nation on earth). Gladys said, “I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins…let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”
Gladys and her daughter did not move back to Australia, but, instead stayed on to work at the Hospital leprosy center that her family had served before her husband and two sons were killed. Indeed, a moving example of faithful serving and dying for Christ. Read the entire article at Randy Alcorn’s site…