BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - Dara Singh, the man already serving a life sentence for the murder of an Australian missionary and his two sons, was given a further jail term on Saturday for killing a Roman Catholic priest the same year.
A court in Orissa sentenced Singh and three others to life for battering to death 35-year-old Arul Doss, a priest of south Indian descent who had been working in the state’s Mayurbhanj district, in September 1999.
Eight months earlier, Graham Staines and his children Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, had died after the jeep in which they were sleeping was set ablaze in a remote village in Orissa by a mob.
Singh was first handed a death sentence for killing the three. But in 2005 that was commuted to life in prison after a higher court said there was no evidence to suggest that Singh’s actions alone were directly responsible for the murders.
Hindu radical groups, which had complained that tribal people in Orissa were being pressured to convert to Christianity, were blamed at the time for the two attacks.
Singh, a Hindu activist, was arrested in early 2000.
An official inquiry into the Staines case said there was no evidence to suggest that organised Hindu groups were behind the killings.
Staines had spent 30 years working with leprosy patients in Orissa, and his widow, Gladys, stayed in India until July 2004, carrying on his work. She was later awarded one of India’s highest civilian honours.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.