Gladys Staines - Satisfied with Life Sentence. I have forgiven the murderers

Joseph Dias

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Gladys Staines, widow of Graham Staines, today expressed satisfaction over the Supreme Court judgement that upheld life term for Dara Singh, convicted for the murder of her husband and two minor sons. Gladys Staines, who has been staying in Australia after the killing of her missionary husband and two sons in 1999, was happy that Dara Singh and his accomplice Mahendra Hembram were convicted in the case. "Every person should be given another chance to rebuild his/her life," said Prof Subhankar Ghosh, quoting Staines’ widow.


Ghosh, a close friend of the Staines family and in-charge of the Staines leprosy home and Evangelical Missionary Society, Mayurbhanj, had a telephonic conversation with Gladys after the Supreme Court pronounced its judgement. Gladys, who last visited Orissa last year, had told media that she had already "forgiven" the killers. Her sons Philip and Timothy, then 10 years and six years old respectively, were killed along with their father. Their only daughter Esther, who was brought up in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj district and was now a final year medical student in Australia, had meanwhile married, said Ghosh, adding that both the mother and daughter had forgiven the killers.

"There is need for the killers to repent for their actions," Ghosh said, quoting the mother-daughter duo. Meanwhile, welcoming the apex court verdict, Bhubaneswar Christian Community (BCC) and Orissa Minority Forum said at a meeting here that the entire community had forgiven the convicts. "The killers should not be killed. We hope Dara and his accomplice will be transformed and follow the right path," they said. "We are happy that justice has been done. I think that he (Dara Singh) should be given an opportunity to repent for whatever he has done and whatever is the law of the country."

"We are happy about the verdict. Life is precious and it is for the court to decide. It is for him (Singh) to know that life is precious and that he should not indulge in such activities. There is no point in ’life for life’," Ghosh said. Rev Dominic Emmanuel, spokesperson of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, welcomed the verdict and said they were happy that the court has upheld the High Court verdict and that they were "happy that he has not been given death sentence". "Though there has been a demand for death sentence, the Church has always been against capital punishment. But what we are worried about is that not just Singh’s crime but Christians have been the victim of what they call as saffron terror," he said.

Shivsankar Mishra, lawyer of Singh, said the Supreme Court maintained the judgement of the High Court and claimed that the apex court concluded that there was no evidence as such regarding the conspiracy.

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