Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 22:
The Justice AS Naidu Commission of Inquiry, probing the 2008 Kandhamal riots, submitted its report to the Odisha government today.
Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry handed over the 1026-page report to Home Secretary Asit Tripathy at the Secretariat here.
“We have submitted the report in two volumes containing over 1020 pages. As many as 300 witnesses were sorted out of the 825 affidavits. Of them, 78 were government and 222 private witnesses,” the Secretary of the Commission of Inquiry Arun Patnaik said.
After communal riots broke out in Kandhamal district and other parts of the state, the state government had instituted the panel on September 8, 2008 to probe the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates at his Chakapada Ashram on August 23. The killing had triggered communal violence in Kandhamal in which at least 38 people were killed.
Initially, Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra was entrusted to conduct the inquiry. Later, Justice AS Naidu was appointed to head the one-man probe panel in 2012 after the demise of Mohapatra.
More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, which held Christians responsible for the murders. The police, however, blamed the murders on the Maoists.