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The Staines family before
the tragedy took place

Fourteen years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death by a right-wing mob, two more suspects were recently arrested from Odisha's (formerly known as Orissa) Keonjhar district.

It is reported that long-sought fugitives Ghanshyam Mahanta and Ramjan Mahanta were finally arrested on May 17th during a raid by CBI officials and the Keonjhar police. A third individual has still not been located.

At the time of the horrific incident, Graham Staines, 58, and his sons Philip and Timothy were burnt to death on January 22nd, 1999, by a mob led by Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh. Graham and his sons were asleep in their station wagon in front of a church in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar, about 400 kilometres northwest of Bhubaneswar.

According to recent news reports, numerous people had been previously arrested for their involvement in the crime, while the search continued for the remaining three perpetrators. In 2003, a Central Bureau of Investigation court in Bhubaneswar initially sentenced Dara Singh with the death penalty and the others to life imprisonment. In 2005, the Odisha high court commuted the activist leader's death sentence to life imprisonment.

While we can be thankful that justice is being meted out on behalf of the Staines family, may the Lord continue to use their testimony in the lives of all they so lovingly served in India. Pray that He will continue to nurture the seeds of the Gospel that have been sown through this family's strong Christian witness and the forgiveness extended by Graham's surviving wife Gladys and their daughter Esther. As a result of His ongoing work, may these seeds bear much good fruit in the lives of the people within this community and beyond.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC VOMC assists persecuted Christians with legal support and rehabilitation assistance, and cares for children of martyrs by providing them with a safe place to be nurtured physical and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and works to strengthen and support marginalized and persecuted Christian women. Additionally, VOMC helps to provide medical assistance to believers who have faced injuries after being attacked.”

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defense, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry, Medical Fund

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

Leader
President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.

end

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