Embassy Archives What's New/Press Releases

A summary of developments and actions taken by the Government of India in the case of the killing of Mr. Graham Staines and his two sons in the State of Orissa

January 28, 1999

Following is a summary of developments and actions taken by the Government of India
in the case of the killing of Mr. Graham Staines and his two sons in the State of Orissa

  • The unfortunate killing of Mr. Staines and his two sons took place in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district of the state of Orissa in east India while the earlier events of communal disharmony, in which there had been no loss of life, had taken place in the Dangs district of the State of Gujrat in western India. The rape of four nuns, in which no communal motive was alleged or established, took place in Jhabua in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The incidents are not inter-related.
  • The killing of Mr. Staines and his two children has been strongly condemned by the Indian leadership and by all enlightened sections of Indian society. President K.R. Narayanan described the barbarous killings as "belonging to the world’s inventory of black deeds". In a strongly worded statement he said, "that someone who spent years caring for patients of leprosy, instead of being thanked and appreciated as a role-model, should be done to death in this manner is a monumental aberration from the traditions of tolerance and humanity for which India is known".
  • The Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has condemned the ghastly incident. Expressing his shock at the incident, the Prime Minister asked the State Government to bring the culprits to book immediately and without delay.
  • The Prime Minister has decided to observe a one-day fast for social harmony on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary on January 30. He has also appealed to the people to join him in this token fast.
  • The Government have instituted a Commission of Enquiry, headed by a Supreme Court Judge for a time bound investigation into the case.
  • More than 50 persons have been arrested in the case and First Information Reports have been filed against six persons including the main suspect in the case.
  • The Central Government sent a team comprising Defense Minister George Fernandes, Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and State & Mines Minister Navin Patnaik to enquire into the incident. The team has completed its visit and has apprised the Prime Minister of the situation.
  • The Defense Minister has issued a statement on his return from Manoharpur village in Orissa in which he has established the circumstances surrounding the event and clarified the situation prevailing on the ground. The team of Ministers pointedly questioned the local authorities and the community and established that relations between Christians and non-Christians of the village have in general been cordial.
  • The National Human Rights Commission and the National Minorities Commission are also sending investigative teams a move that has been welcomed by the Prime Minister who has called for all the facts about the incident to be made public.