Phulbani, Oct 29:
The additional district and sessions court here today acquitted 54 persons arrested for their alleged role in the 2007 communal riots.
Rajendra Kumar Tosh, additional district and sessions judge, Phulbani acquitted them due to lack of enough evidence against them in the case.
The arrested persons had allegedly set on fire an Odia Baptist church and 14 houses at Barakhama village in Phulbani district on Christmas Day in 2007.
The district had experienced riots on Dec 25, 2007, which was followed by a much more vicious and prolonger communal blood-letting after the killing of senior VHP leader Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati in 2008.
Two separate judicial commissions are now enquiring into the reasons behind the riots and measures to be adopted for preventing re-occurrence of such incidents in future.