Independent Tribunal criticises Orissa govt on Kandhmal issue

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Bhubaneswar, May 17 (UNI) The relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation work for the affected people in Kandhamal district has been lagging behind, even five months after the riot, a four-member independent tribunal said here today.

The tribunal, comprising Justice (Retd) Hospet Suresh, Justice (Retd) Koise Patil (both former High Court judges), former Gujarat Director General of Police R B Sreekumar and noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, was in Orissa to oversee the progress of relief, reconstruction and security situation in the district and prepare a report.

The team members told newspersons here that so far 220 houses of the affected people were yet to be built.

Criticising the government for its apathy and callousness, the team members said the situation would be worse if the aid did not reach the people by June and demanded the government to initiate steps for the construction of the houses on war footing before the onset of monsoon.

They said there was a lot of amity and goodwill among the people in the area but the problem arose due to the role played by the RSS and Bajrang Dal activists there.

The tribunal members said the riot broke out as the government did not take any preventive measure. The government, they said ''should admit its failure and ensure that it did not recur in future.'' Mr R B Kumar suggested that the government should prepare a list of those miscreants who played a role in the riot and prepare a standard operation procedure to prevent the repeat of such incidents in future.

The tribunal members said they would release a report on their findings within a month.

UNI BD DP DPM SP ND1518

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