Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - As the tenth anniversary of the attack on Christians which occurred in August 2008 in the Indian state of Orissa is approaching, an online signature campaign demanding the release of seven innocent Christians, who have since been in prison, has crossed the milestone of 50,000 signatures.
Thanking all those who have joined the online campaign on www.release7innocents.com, Christian journalist and activist Anto Akkara, called for more signatures for the release of the seven, also from the institutions and civil society.
The seven Christians – Bhaskar Sunamajhi, Bijay Kumar Sanseth, Budhadeb Nayak, Durjo Sunamajhi, Gornath Chalenseth, Munda Badamajhi and Sanathan Badamajhi-have been jailed accused of murdering of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008. The murder sparked anti-Christian violence, resulting in the death of some 100 Christians. Frenzied groups raided and torched some 300 churches and 6,000 Christian houses that continued for weeks. The Hindu masses – most of them illiterate - were instigated to take revenge. A judge from the court of first instance A judge convicted the accused Christians to life imprisonment for the Swami’s murder in 2013 on the basis of a fabricated Christian conspiracy theory despite hardly any credible evidence brought before the court. In mid 2015, two top police officials had testified before the Kandhamal judicial Inquiry commission that the allegations were false. Yet, the hearing on the appeal of the innocent convicts has been pending in the Odisha High Court.
On 3 March 2016, Akkara, who reported the bloodshed in Orissa, launched the online signiture campaign. Each online signature generates three automatic e-mails to the President of the Supreme Court of India, the President of India and the President of the National Commission for Human Rights. The author revealed "the fraud and the parody of justice in Kandhamal" with his investigative book "Who Killed Swami Laxmanananda?", presented at a national level. It is now established, in fact, that the Maoist guerrillas killed the Hindu leader. The online petition had a strong impulse after a special prayer campaign was launched in the autumn of 2017 for the seven innocent people spread throughout the churches in India. (PN) (Agenzia Fides, 12/7/2019)