The Orissa High Court today granted bail for a second time to a Hindu legislator convicted of committing murder during anti-Christian violence in 2008.
Manoj Pradhan was awarded conditional bail by Justice Sanju Pandha.
Pradhan surrendered to a local court on March 9, a month after the Supreme Court withdrew the bail the High Court had initially granted.
Justice Pandha awarded bail again on condition that Pradhan does not try to influence witnesses in cases related to the anti-Christian violence. The court also barred him from traveling abroad without permission.
Pradhan represents G. Udayagiri constituency in Kandhamal district for the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party).
On June 29, 2010, a fast track court in Phulbani, in Kandhamal district, sentenced Pradhan to seven years hard labor for his role in the killing of Parikhita Nayak, a Christian, during the 2008 riots.
After his conviction, Pradhan was awarded bail from the Orissa High Court pending an appeal. However, Nayak’s widow, Kanakrekha, challenged the decision in the Supreme Court.
Kanakrekha said she was very surprised at the High Court’s latest decision.
“I will go back to the Supreme Court which will give justice,” she said.
Father Mrutyunjaya Digal, secretary to the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, said the Church respects the judiciary.
“There is still a higher court that will provide true justice. The High Court decision should not worry people,” he said.
BJP legislator gives himself up
Hindu radical charged with rape of Orissa nun
Six-year-old Orissa girl identifies dad’s killer
Five sentenced to life for murder during Orissa violence