Christians sentenced for Orissa killing

India – A Catholic bishop has vowed to appeal the sentences handed down to seven Christians linked to a killing which sparked the deadly Orissa pogrom of 2008. On October 3, a court in the state sentenced those convicted to life, despite a lack of evidence against them and a claim from a Maoist group that it carried out the shooting of Hindu leader Laxamananda Saraswati. The trial and convictions were denounced as “a mockery” by Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians, while retired Bishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar insisted: “We will appeal to the High Court against the unfair and unacceptable verdict.” The ‘success’ for the court in gaining the seven convictions stands in sharp contrast with repeated failures by the judicial system to bring many behind the Orissa pogrom to justice.