Odisha high court granted bail to Gornath Chalanseth - one of the 7 innocent Christians

Phulbhani.jpg Victims meeting the families during the trial, courtesy GCIC
Kandhamal –
Odisha high court granted bail to Gornath Chalanseth - one of the 7 innocent Christians. He was granted a 3 weeks bail to attend to his wife who is seriously sick.
Orissa: Six mothers and 12 children from different villages of Kotogad reached Konjamendi on 18.3.12 afternoon. These six mothers are wives of six of the seven men, falsely charged with the murder of Swami Laxmanananda in August 2008. One wife and a few children could not make it. All of them gathered at Dibyajyoti Pastoral Centre, and Rev . Prasan Pradhan welcomed them and Pastors Sushant Pradhan and Sunil Parichha facilitated the group. After the evening prayer and dinner they rested at the Pastoral Centre. Dr. Sajan K. George and Bro. K.J. Markose also reached the Centre late in the evening.

On 19.3.12, the day began with a prayer service presided by Rev. Prasan Pradhan. He made the worship very lively, emotional and participatory with sharing by the participants. It was followed by breakfast. The First Session of the day was a prayer session. It began with prayers by Pastor Prakash Nayak of the Free Methodist Church, Fr. Prasan Pradhan, and Pastor Sushanto Pradhan. Dr. Sajan George spoke about the book of Job in great detail and advised the people how we can relate our own personal suffering to the suffering of a just man like Job. He also touched upon the importance of not accepting defeat in the face of suffering, the importance of suffering and forgiving as Jesus forgave from the cross, and our final victory through our resurrection. He also narrated the story of Susanna, a cancer patient. He stressed upon the point that no one can explain the reasons for certain painful things that happen in our lives. He said that we must continue to keep our faith whatever happens to us because the Lord will never forsake us. Many people, all over the world, are praying for the seven families, whose bread-earners, the innocent victims are languishing in the Phulbani jail for no fault of theirs, and also that many people are encouraged by the unfailing faith as displayed by them. He also emphasized on the need of an attitude of continuous gratitude. The prayer session ended with the concluding prayer for forgiveness and peace by Dr. Sajan K. George.

The Second Session, a session of sharing by the wives of the innocent victims began after the tea break.
1. Ruta, w/o Gornath Challanseth, shared and said that her husband was called to the police station on 13-12- 08. She said that a home guard came to call him to the police station, pressurized him and took him to the police station. He has not returned home till today. He is falsely implicated in the case and kept in jail. Their village, Sartuli, in Kotagad Block, is about 5 hours ride by bike from Phulbani.
2. Badusi, w/o Sanatan Badmajhi, from Nandabali Village (Madaguda), in Kotagad, about 3 hours bike ride from Phulbani, said that her husband was taken away in the night when he was sleeping at home on the verandah on the 4th of October 2008. She has 4 children, and they live on whatever they earn as daily wage-earners.
3. Gumuli, w/o Durjo Sunamajhi, from Mdaguda Village (Budapada), in Kotagad said that the police came, broke open their house door, woke up her husband, pushed her aside and took him away only in his lungi on the night of 4-10-08. He is falsely implicated in the murder case. Their two elder sons are labourers and 3 younger children are studying.
4. Bandigudali, w/o Munda Badmajhi, from Duringpodi village of Mdaguda in Kotagad said that the police came at night on 4-10-12 and took away her husband, after waking him up from his sleep. She said that she wanted to give him a shawl, but the police just pushed her away and wouldn’t allow her to give the shawl. She said that her husband was falsely implicated in the case and kept in the prison at Phulbani.
5. Nilandri, w/o Budhadeb Nayak, from Kilangi village in Kotagod said that her husband was taken away from their home by the police on 4-10-12. She said that his hands and legs were tied and he was taken away wearing just a lungi and that he was not even permitted to have a shirt. He is falsely charged with murder and kept in jail. She also said that her village is in such a remote part of the district that one can reach their village only during six months in a year, since during the rainy season the river near Kotagad gets flooded most of the time, and as such there is no road to their village and that one can just manage to ride a motor bike or go on foot on the narrow path to reach their village.

6. Pabitra Sanseth, w/o Bijay Kr Sanseth, from Madhuguda village in Kotagad said that during the communal riots of 2008, they were in the jungles for about a week. When they returned home, her husband was repeatedly called to the police station. Finally, when he reported to the police station on 13-12-08, first they took him to the Rayagada jungles, and then they took him to Baliguda police station. He was falsely implicated in the murder of Swami Laxmanananda and has been kept in the jail at Phulbani ever since.

At the end of the sharing, Pastor Sushant prayed for the families of all the affected people. Ranjit Kumar Nayak who was accompanied by his brother and paternal uncles reached the meeting place only towards the end of the session. He introduced himself and his brother and the uncles to the group. He also shared and said that after his father was murdered, he was helped to learn driving and he has been provided with an autorickshaw by Dr. Sajan George and through that they have been earning their daily bread. He thanked Dr. Sajan George for his kind gesture and saving their family from misery and suffering.

Each of the seven (six present and one absent) victims, was presented with a cash gift donated by Dr. Sajan George. After lunch, Dr. Sajan George and Bro. Markose along with two youth proceeded to Phulbanai to meet the 7 victims in the Phulbani Jail. All the wives along with their children were escorted back to their homes at Kotabad by Pastor Prakash.