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BJP legislator acquitted in Kandhamal riots case

BJP legislator acquitted in Kandhamal riots case

Author: IANS
Publication: The Times of India
Date: September 10, 2009
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/india/BJP-legislator-acquitted-in-Kandhamal-riots-case/articleshow/4995514.cms

A fast-track court in Orissa's Kandhamal district on Thursday acquitted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Manoj Pradhan in a case of kidnapping and murder during the communal violence last year as the charges were not proved, an official said.

Pradhan was charged with kidnapping and murdering Meghnad Dighal of Sankarkhol village in the district during the riots. Four others accused have also been acquitted.

Pradhan was also earlier acquitted in another case of torching houses.

"He has been acquitted in two cases. He was let off as the charges levelled against him could not be proved," the Kandhamal public prosecutor said.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on Aug 23 last year.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing although police blamed the Maoists.

The government has set up two fast-track courts to try cases related to the communal violence.

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