New Odisha CM Had Campaigned for Release of Graham Staines’ Killer Dara Singh (The Wire)

Fifty-two-year-old Mohan Charan Majhi was born in a Santhal tribal family, and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Keonjhar very early in his life.

Mohan Charan Majhi sitting on dharna with Suresh Chavahanke after not being allowed to meet Dara Singh in jail. Photo: Shared on social media

By The Wire Staff

New Delhi: Newly-appointed chief minister of Odisha Mohan Charan Majhi has already landed himself in a controversy. Immediately after he was sworn in on Wednesday, news reports surfaced that he supported Sudarshan TV’s editor Suresh Chavhanke to demand the release of Bajrang Dal activist Dara Singh, who was convicted for the 1999 murder of Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two children.

Known for his rabid Islamophobia, Chavhanke has been leading a campaign to get Dara Singh released. In September 2022, Chavhanke was denied permission to meet Singh in Keonjhar jail, following which the Sudarshan TV editor and BJP leaders who had accompanied him, including Majhi, staged a dharna to press the jail authorities.

In 1999, Dara Singh led a mob to set the wagon in which Graham Staines and his two sons were sleeping on fire. Staines, who ran a home for lepers, and his two sons were charred to death. In 2003, the trial court in Khordha sentenced Singh to death, while 12 others were sentenced to life. The Odisha high court later commuted Singh’s death sentence to life.

Singh was also convicted and given life sentence in two other murder cases of a Muslim trader and another Christian missionary.

After Keonjhar jail authorities said that Singh will only be allowed to meet his family members and lawyers in 2022, Chavhanke, Majhi and other BJP leaders demonstrated against the decision. Majhi, who was BJP’s chief whip in 2022, told The Hindu“…this is just a demand. If the situation warrants, we would discuss in the party to back him (Singh).”

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.

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