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Published on 27 May, 2013

Two arrested 14 years after missionary death

India (MNN) — 14 years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burned to death in their sleep by a right wing mob, two suspects were arrested last week.

According to The Hundu, 37-year-old Ghanshyam Mahanta and 34-year-old Ramjan Mahanta were arrested on Friday morning during a raid by India's Central Bureau of Investigation officials and the Keonjhar police.

The third individual is still on the run.

The Hindustan Times reported that in an incident that drew international outrage, Staines, 58, and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6, were burned to death on Jan. 22 1999 by a mob led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh. Staines and his sons were asleep in their station wagon in front of a church in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar, about 400km northwest of Bhubaneswar, when the mob set his vehicle on fire.

The Hindustan Times said a total of 18 people, including Dara Singh, were arrested for their involvement in the crime while three others were on the run.

In 2003, a CBI court in Bhubaneswar sentenced Singh to death and 12 others to life.

In 2005, the Hindustan Times reported, the Orissa high court commuted Singh's death sentence to life imprisonment. The court, however, retained the life imprisonment awarded to the other accused.

In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld Orissa high court's life imprisonment for Singh and his accomplices.

Staines' wife and daughter now live in Australia.

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