Christian News

Two Arrested 14 Years after Missionary Graham Staines’ Murder

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Fourteen years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death in sleep by a right wing mob, two suspects were arrested Friday from Odisha’s Keonjhar district.

The Staines family

The Staines family.
(File photo via The New Indian Express)

A story by Priya Ranjan Sahu for the Hindustan Times reported that Ghanshyam Mahanta, 37, and Ramjan Mahanta, 34, were arrested on Friday morning during a raid by CBI officials and the Keonjhar police.”

That’s according to District Police Superintendent Kavita Jalan.

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 burnt 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.

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 Central Bureau of Investigation (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.

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Now You See Me." Additional details on some of Reynalds' previous books are available at He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at

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