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Kandhamal: Two acquitted, 230 witnesses examined

A local court today acquitted two persons accused in an arson case during the riots in Orissa`s Kandhamal district in 2008, for lack of evidence.

Phulbani (Orissa), Jul 26 (PTI) A local court today
acquitted two persons accused in an arson case during the
riots in Orissa`s Kandhamal district in 2008, for lack of

Additional session judge, Fast Track Court-I, C R Dash
acquitted Balakrushna Jundi and Prasant Kata arrested for
setting fire to the house of a person named Laxman Digal of
Karukamba village under Phiringia police station in September
2008, due to lack of evidence.

So far, 891 cases have been registered in connection
with the Kandhmal riots in 2008 for which 966 persons were

While disposing 130 cases, the two fast track courts
convicted 162 people giving 5 life sentences, while 684 were

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik today said the investigations into the Kandhamal riot
cases are progressing well and that statements of nearly 230
witnesses have been recorded.

The district was rocked by communal violences in December
2007 and again in August 2008 following the killing of VHP
leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. The clashes had claimed
38 lives.

"While the first judicial commission probing the 2007
riot has recorded statements of 173 witnesses, the second
commission headed by Justice S C Mohapatra examined 60
witnesses," Patnaik told the assembly.

He said the state government had again extended tenure of
the commissions and was providing support and assistance for a
thorough probe into the incidents which led to communal
clashes in Kandhamal.

Patnaik had on July 19 told the House that 132 persons
had so far been convicted in riot-related cases.

Stating that 38 people were killed in the riots, the
chief minister had said that two fast track courts were
hearing the cases.
Meanwhile, seeking establishment of a special court to
hear the riot cases and a CBI inquiry, a section of riot
victims today demonstrated before the Orissa assembly.

The riot victims under the banner of `Kuidina Forum for
Peace and Justice`, marched on Mahatma Gandhi Marg holding
placards demanding a CBI probe into the violence and also
setting up of a special court as applicable for disturbed
areas before submitting a memorandum to Governor M C Bhandare.
They alleged in the memorandum that the real culprits,
who led the violence and provided explosives, arms and weapons
to rioters, were yet to be arrested.

"The real culprits are moving about freely and
terrorising the people. Therefore, many victims have failed to
return to their villages even 22 months after the violence,"
Keshamatu Pradhan, co-convenor of the forum, said.


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