Cong demands CBI inquiry into Kandhmal violence

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 14: A fact-finding team of Orissa Congress today held the VHP and district administration ''responsible'' for communal clashes in Kandhmal district and demanded a CBI probe 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 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 the VHP activists created disturbances in presence of police and this led to clash between the tribals and Christians on December 25.

He alleged that police in Kandhmal had acted partially 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 relief arrangements be streamlined.


UNI

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