Twelve persons were convicted and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on Tuesday by a fast track court at Phulbani in Kandhamal district for their involvement in the communal riots of 2008.

Additional Sessions Judge B.N. Mishra also imposed fine of Rs. 5,000 on the convicts. In case of non-payment of fine, each convict had to undergo additional imprisonment for one year.

Prosecution lawyer Pratap Kumar Patra said 10 other accused in the same case were acquitted by the court for want of evidence. There were six witnesses in this case.

According to the prosecution, the incident occurred on August 29, 2008, at Gudakia village under Raikia police station limits.

The complainant, Mudia Digal, alleged that the accused were involved in rioting and arson, including torching of houses of the minority community. Police had arrested 22 persons of which 12 were convicted.

Large-scale communal riots erupted in parts of Kandhamal district after the murder of VHP leader, Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates at his Jalaspata ashram on August 23, 2008.

At least 38 persons were killed and many had become homeless in Kandhamal district.