Goa tribal deaths: No witnesses come forward

Last Updated: Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 13:46

Panaji: The magisterial enquiry ordered by the Goa government into the death of two tribal youngsters has come a cropper with not a single civilian coming forward so far to depose before the authorities, a top official said on Saturday.

North Goa District Collector Mihir Vardhan, who is heading the enquiry, said he had visited Balli, a village located 50 km from Panaji, where tribal activists Mangesh Borkar and Dilip Velip were allegedly killed and thrown into a burning storeroom.

"I was in Balli on Friday for an inspection and for recording of statements. But no one came forward from the public to explain Wednesday`s event. I am hoping that people will come today and narrate what they saw at least today (Saturday). They need not fear anyone," Vardhan said.

The enquiry officer has already called for all media houses to submit video tapes and photographs of Wednesday`s conflict, which followed a daylong protest by nearly 10,000 tribals, who were demanding that the Goa government implement tribal rights, which includes reservation in government jobs.

Prakash Velip, convenor of United Tribals Association Alliance (UTAA), said the magisterial enquiry was a sham and would serve no purpose.

"The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) should probe the deaths of Mangesh and Dilip. Nothing short of it would do," Velip said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led opposition has already said that Vardhan, though a capable officer, was prone to succumbing to pressure from the ruling politicians.

"He is a good officer. But he will not be able to conduct an enquiry when he is under pressure from politicians. A High Court judge should probe the killing," Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, May 28, 2011 - 13:46

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