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A fast track court in Orissa Tuesday sentenced Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Manoj Pradhan to seven years imprisonment in a murder case during the 2008 communal riots in Kandhamal.

Judge Sobhan Kumar Das of the fast track court I in Kandhamal handed down the sentence to Pradhan and another accused, Prafulla Mallik, for the murder of Pariskhita Digal in Barpenga village Aug 25, 2008, defence lawyer Ajit Patnaik told IANS.

The court asked them to pay a fine of Rs. 6,000 as well, he said.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23,

2008.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati’s killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

Pradhan represents G Udaygiri constituency in the state assembly


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