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January 30, 1999
ASSEMBLY POLL '98
Stains' torching was pre-planned, says probe
A two-member fact-finding team of the National Commission for Minorities has described the gruesome burning of Australian missionary Graham Stains and his two sons at Monoharpur village in Orissa's Keonjhar district as pre-planned and linked with the disturbance taking place in other parts of the country.
Dr James Massey and K Neminath, members of the ''specially constituted team by the NMC, who toured the Monoharpur village and held discussion'' with the various communities in the village, would submit their report to the commission by February 2.
They said that during the course of their investigation they had come across indications that pointed out that the incident could be inter-linked with the incidents taking place in other parts of the country where the Christians had become the main targets.
The NCM members, however, said that further investigation would be needed to establish the factors and the reasons behind the killing of Stains and his two sons.
Dr Massey said the attacks on the minorities, particularly on the Christians, had been on thje rise during the past one year and the commission would find out the reasons and the factors responsible for such attacks.
Dr Massey said the Manoharpur incident was the worst in comparison to other issues that had been reported from other parts of the country.
He said Stains was non-controversial and no forced conversion had taken place in the village as alleged by a section of the people. It seemed that there had been some definite purpose of killing Stains that has to be further investigated, he added.
The NCM member said he personally talked to both the Christian and tribal communities in the village and none of them had any idea about the ''Jai Bajarang bali'' slogan or any knowledge about the Bajrang Dal. No villager was also able to point out the reason behind the attack on Stains and his two sons, he stated.
Dr Massey said the commission was concentrating on three factors such as inter-religious, majority and minority, and the political involvement.
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