Dara Singh was a member of Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu organisation. He is the prime convict of Graham Staines case. Graham Staines was an Australian Christian missionary who, along with his two sons Philip and Timothy was burnt to death, while sleeping in their station wagon at Manoharpur village, Orissa. Kids were aged only 10 and 6 and the mob prevented even the children from escaping. Later Dara Singh was convicted for the case and Orissa High Court gave him life sentence, a decision that was upheld by Supreme Court in 2011. One of the violent figures in the name of Hindu religion, Singh was also charged in the killing of Muslim trader Shaikh Rehman. His hands were severed before given a painful death.
His real name is Ravinder Kumar Pal, born in Kokara, Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh. After a brief stay in Delhi, he moved to Odisha where he got associated with the Bajrang Dal. He was associated in a campaign against cow slaughter and was also involved with religious conversions, thus becoming a prominent member of the group. His works were concentrated in Padiabeda village of Mayurbhanj district. As a part of cow slaughter campaign, he looted many trucks carrying cows to slaughter and later distributing among people. Thus he gained popularity among tribals and rose to prominence in the late 1990s.
Dara Singh is believed to be one among the gang members who murdered Muslim trader Shaikh Rehman in 1998 and Catholic priest Arul Das in 1999. On 22 January 1999, he led a mob and attacked the station wagon inhabited by Graham Staines and his two sons. Graham Staines had worked with leprosy patients in Orissa for 30 years. He was burned alive with two innocent sons by the mob of around 50 people who didn’t allow them to escape. In 2003, a trial court in Khurda convicted all 13 accused. Dara Singh was given death sentence, while others were sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2005, the Orissa High Court commuted Singh's sentence to life and later upheld by Supreme Court in 2011.
Updated: January 28, 2016