Kandhamal riots could have been avoided: Ex-ministerMarch 9th, 2011 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, March 9 (IANS) The communal violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal district could have been avoided had Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid attention to issues of tribal discontentment, a former minister said here Wednesday.
Kandhamal, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.
Deposing before a one-man judicial commission which is probing the riots, former state revenue minister Manmohan Samal said he had met the chief minister a number of times before the violence.
Samal is the first minister of the last Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government to appear before the commission.
He said there was discontentment among the tribals because of the illegal transfer of their lands to non-tribals.
Although as a minister he tried to resolve the land problems, much more was required to be done at a higher level, he said.
The former minister said he sought the chief minister’s intervention on several occasions.
“However, there was no discussion in respect of this discontentment in the state cabinet,” he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the Kandhamal violence as a national shame. More than 25,000 Christians were displaced after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held them responsible for Saraswati’s killing, although police blamed Maoist guerrillas.
Sarat Chandra Mohapatra, a former Orissa high court judge, was appointed in October the same year to probe the the murders and the subsequent violence. At least a hundred people, including government officials, have already deposed before the commission.
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- 'Police didn't know Saraswati was under Maoist threat' - Sep 14, 2009
- NGO holds hearing on Orissa's anti-Christian violence - Aug 22, 2010
- Orissa asked to improve human rights situation - Jan 19, 2011
- Orissa gives subsidised rice to riots victims - Oct 25, 2010
- BJP lawmaker gets seven-year jail for Kandhamal murder - Jun 29, 2010
- Laxmanananda murder probe: Court slams tardy police probe - May 17, 2011
- Rights panel concerned over farmers' suicides in Orissa (Lead) - Jan 19, 2011
- 18 acquitted in Kandhamal riot cases - Jan 29, 2011
- Orissa court seeks report on Hindu leader's murder - Apr 20, 2011
- Kandhamal riots: Jail term for 13 - May 18, 2011
- Suspected Maoists blow up ambulance, three dead - Nov 28, 2010
- BJP legislator surrenders after apex court rejects bail - Mar 09, 2011
- EU team meets Kandhamal riot victims - Feb 04, 2010
Tags: bharatiya janata party, chief minister, communal violence, first minister, illegal transfer, judicial commission, manmohan, manmohan singh, mohapatra, national shame, orissa high court, party coalition government, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, revenue minister, samal, saraswati, state cabinet, state revenue, vishwa hindu parishad