Saffron tikka judge delays justice for tribal Christians
Date: 7/11/2012 11:02:54 PM
PHULBANI, (Anto Akkara) – Here’s an update on my 16th Kandhamal visit from which I got back safely to Bangalore on Saturday (9 July 2012).
I was surprised to find Niladri Kanhar – ‘St Paul of Kandhamal’ when I went to the Fast Track Court in Phulbani on July 5 to see seven ‘innocent’ Christians, arrested nearly fours years ago on charge of ‘assassinating’ Swami Lakshmanananda (August 2008) and produced in court in handcuffs in the ongoing trial. Niladri sat among the handcuffed prisoners who had been made to squat on the floor surrounded by a dozen gun trotting policemen.
In fact, Niladri has been visiting the jail (where he had been imprisoned earlier on conversion charge) and praying with them every Saturday. What a witness to Christ like a true St Paul!
I also a had tiff with the accompanying policemen when I tried to take pictures (from the road) of the ‘innocent’ Christians being taken in handcuffs after being made to squat on the floor at the Fast Track Court the whole day – after hanging around the court till the end. Though the prosecution has not yet presented any credible and serious proof against the accused Christians, the Fast Tract Court has not granted them bail even after they have been brought to court in handcuffs for nearly 100 times since the trial began February 2009, according to the lawyer. What a travesty of justice!
The hapless look on the faces of the seven Christians (four of them Home Guards) even from the jail van will haunt me for long, and raises questions about the legal challenge to this blatant injustice. But with the Fast Tract Court judge coming to the court with a saffron tikka on his forehead, who would expect speedy justice for the incarcerated Christian accused.