Appointment of Comm on Kandhamal made in haste: Cheenath

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 21 (UNI) Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath, who has moved the apex court demanding a CBI inquiry into the Kandhamal communal violence, today alleged that appointments of Commission of Inquiries were made in haste by the Orissa government, disregarding the point of view of the victim communities.

In a statement released to the press here, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said he was distressed by the fact that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not consult the victim community before deciding on the persons to head the commission of inquiry to probe the communal violence in Kandhamal.

The state government, he said, should have taken the community into confidence so that the Commission of inquiries were headed by persons who are in the perception of the affected community.

The Orissa government has appointed Justice Basudev Panigrahi to head the one-man commission of inquiry into the December 2007 communal violence in Kandhamal and Justice S C Mahapatra to probe the August 2008 communal violence.

Archbishop Cheenath has alleged that the Justice Panigrahi Commission was taking more interest in covering up the 'misdeeds' of the state government and the police force whose actions, he described, as ' shameful', rather than to identify the organisations and individuals behind the attack.

He alleged that the Commission wanted to produce its report in undue haste with a view to giving a clean chit to the Chief Minister and his offices and said he had no faith whatsoever in the Justice Panigrahi Commission.

The Archbishop said Justice Panigrahi has refused to adjourn the hearing for two months despite sincere request made by the victims and their advocates that it would be impossible for them to appear before the Commission following the unabated communal violence in the district.

Mr Cheenath also protested the appointment of Justice S C Mohapatra to probe the recent communal violence and the killing of the Swami Laxmananda Saraswati stating that the appointment was being made unilaterally without consulting the affected community.

He said Justice Mohapatra has issued notices to the community in the middle of all this violence to file affidavits by November 15 adding that such a formal approach displays an insensitivity to the suffering of the victims.

The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said those who attacked the Christians in the name of religion, are profoundly anti-Hindu and anti-national and seek to divide the nation.

He said he was distressed that the national leadership did not appear to be capable of acting bravely and decisively, with compassion and clarity to challenge the forces committing many horrendous crimes repeatedly.

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