No witness for hearing in Adivasi rally violence case

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Guwahati, Jan 7 (UNI) No witnesses turned up before the judicial inquiry commission on its first day of hearing today, probing the violence in Guwahati during an Adivasi rally on November 24 last.

The Justice (retd) M Singh Commission, instituted to conduct the inquiry, was scheduled to conduct the first hearing at the Circuit House in Guwahati, with seven people scheduled to depose before the Commission.

However, none of the witnesses appeared before the Commission. It was not disclosed whether these people were locals of Beltola or Adivasi rallyists.

The Commission is scheduled to sit for its second hearing on January 17.

The non-disposal of a single witness in an incident that took place in full public view, including the administration and media, has raised questions on the reasons for the people holding back.

The Adivasi rallyists as well as the locals had been vocal about the incident and were expected to show up for the hearing in large numbers, especially as the government had ordered the judicial inquiry bowing to public outcry.

The government's recommendation for a CBI probe, which the central investigation body is yet to decide, may also have been a contributing factor for the witnesses' failure to show up.

In the mob violence in Beltola area of Guwahati on November 24, Adivasi rallyists had clashed with locals, leaving one dead and over 250 injured. An Adivasi girl was stripped and assaulted by a mob, pictures of which were flashed by the media, raising an outcry about the incident.

The government has since then instituted an administrative inquiry, a judicial probe and also recommended a CBI enquiry.

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