Congress demands CBI inquiry into Kandhmal violence

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 14 (UNI) A fact finding team of Orissa Congress today held the VHP and district administration squarely responsible for communal clashes in Kandhmal district and demanded a CBI inquiry to assist the Judicial inquiry, ordered by the state government.

Former Orissa Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, who led a fact finding team of the Pradesh Congress as directed by the AICC, told newspersons here that only an impartial inquiry by the CBI could expose the deep-rooted conspiracy in the Kandhmal violence.

Mr Biswal said the communal clash in Kandhmal could have been avoided if the district administration had taken effective steps, and demanded that the then District Collector and the Superintendent of Police be immediately suspended instead of being transferred to other places.

The Congress leader, who visited the affected areas and spoke to the people from both communities, said on December 24 last the VHP activists created the disturbances in presence of police and this led to clash between the tribals and the Christians on December 25 last.

He alleged that police in Kandhmal had acted in a partisan manner and said under such circumstances only an impartial inquiry by the CBI would strengthen the judicial inquiry, announced by the state government.

To a question, both Mr Biswal and former Union Minister Srikant Jena admitted that the Christians have retaliated on December 27 after their houses were torched, prayers halls were set ablaze and damaged by the VHP activists in the area.

Mr Biswal said they visited the relief camps where the people had complained of inadequate and sub-standard relief materials being provided to them.

He said the fact finding team had drawn the attention of the district administration and demanded that the relief arrangement be streamlined.

UNI DP SJC KLC1748

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