Kandhamal probe to resume soon

Kandhamal probe to resume soon

Judicial probe into the communal riots in Odisha’s Kandhamal district is expected to resume soon, with the state government deciding to appoint Justice A S Naidu as the new head of the one-man inquiry commission.

Justice Naidu, a former judge of the Orissa High Court, will replace Justice S C Mohapatra, who died in May. The investigation had come to a grinding halt after Mohapatra’s demise. The state government was under pressure from different quarters to appoint a new head of the one-man inquiry commission, which was also investigating the murder of religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, whose death had triggered the riots in August, 2008.

“Justice Naidu would be the new head of the important one-man commission of inquiry and an official notification in this regard would be released soon,” sources in the state Home department said on Tuesday.

Though Mohapatra had managed to submit an interim inquiry report on the riots in 2009, he could not complete the investigation.

Sources in the Commission said that out of the approximately 200 witnesses, nearly 60 were yet to depose before the panel at the time of Mohapatra’s demise.
More than 40 people were killed and thousands rendered homeless in the riots. Some of the victims who had fled the district are yet to return even after four years of the communal strife.