A court in India has acquitted for lack of evidence 54 Hindu extremists responsible for looting and anti-Christian violence carried out in December 2007, in Kandhamal district in the Indian state of Orissa. It was during the Christmas season that a Baptist church in the village of Barakhama was destroyed while numerous homes of Christians were burned. Some have labeled the 2007 attack a "dress rehearsal" of the massacres against Christians in August 2008. In both cases, eyewitnesses recanted their testimony and declined the most serious charges, such as murder, rape, aand arson.
According to the Global Council of Indian Christians" (GCIC), "the evidence in the trial of the 54 men was obvious and indisputable". GCIC invited India's National Commission for Human Rights to "take note of the large-scale of abuses suffered by Christians and to undertake new investigations". The GCIC noted "the total failure of the justice administration", recalling that the violence perpetrated during Christmas 2007 was "perfectly organized and planned".
In October 2012 the Supreme Court of India also raised doubts about the "easy acquittals" in cases of religious violence in Orissa, which "spoiled the perception of a fair trial". Paradoxically, a month ago, seven Christians were instead sentenced by a court of first instance in Orissa for the alleged 2008 murder of a Hindu leader who was killed by Maoist terrorists. That episode was used as a pretext by Hindu extremists to unleash violence against Christians in Orissa, causing 100 deaths and more than 50,000 refugees. Many of these have not returned home.
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