NEW DELHI – John Dayal Comments on CBI demand – We are against the death penalty on moral and ethical grounds, even if it is for Dara Singh, the Bajrang Dal killer of Australian Graham Stuart Staines and his sons Philips and Timothy in Orissa in 1999.
There is little doubt that Dara Singh held the murderous mob that burnt alive Australian church worker Graham Stuart Staines and his sons Timothy and Philip in January 1999. Under Indian law, it was the worst possible crime with no mitigating circumstances because of the nature of the planning, the motives and the brutal and ruthless nature of the execution of the murders.
The lower courts had given Dara Singh the death penalty, which he fully deserved. But Staines’ widow [Gladys] and the Christian community in India almost unanimously opposed the death penalty. The death penalty was later commuted to a life term. As a pro-life activist, I oppose the death penalty on moral and ethical grounds as much as I oppose abortions. Man ought not to take human life, even under the demands of the legal system. A life penalty without provision of parole for Dara Singh and his principal associates will fully serve the ends of justice.
Staines’ Murder Case: CBI Pleads for Death to Dara
New Delhi, Nov 11, 2010 – The CBI today appealed to the Supreme Court to award death sentence to main accused Dara Singh for the brutal manner in which Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were killed by a mob in Orissa’s Koenjhar district in January 1999.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha told a Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan that Dara Singh deserved death sentence as the murders were committed in a most “diabolic and dastardly manner” which deserved exemplary punishment.
“It was not a simple conspiracy, but a dastardly conspiracy in which three innocent hapless victims were beaten and burnt alive in the car,” he told the Bench.
While Dara had filed an appeal challenging his conviction and the life sentence awarded to him, CBI has filed a cross appeal seeking enhancement of the life sentence.
The appeals were admitted by the apex court in October 2005.
On May 19, 2005, the Orissa High Court altered to life imprisonment the death penalty imposed by the sessions court on Dara Singh for the murder of Staines and his two minor sons — Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6. Along with Dara, another person Mahendra Hembram was convicted in the case.
However, the High Court had acquitted 11 others who were awarded life terms by the trial court in the case.
Dara Singh and Mahendra Hembrum were found guilty for burning to death Staines and his sons Philip and Timothy, who were sleeping inside a van outside a church, at Manoharpur village in Koenjhar district of Orissa on January 22, 1999.
The trial court in Khurda in September 2003 had convicted all the 14 accused.
While Dara Singh and Hembrom were awarded the death sentence, others were given life imprisonment. However, the High Court had commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment.