Judicial commission begins probe in Orissa’s Kandhamal

October 18th, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Phulbani (Orissa), Oct 18 (IANS) A one-man judicial commission Saturday began its probe into the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in Orissa’s Kandhamal district that sparked communal violence in the state in which at least 36 people were killed and thousands of homes were torched, an official said.Justice S.C. Mohapatra, a retired judge of the Orissa High Court appointed last month by the state government, visited Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati’s Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district and held discussions with the ashram inmates, a district official said.

Kandhamal district, some 200 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, witnessed communal violence after the killing of Saraswati and his aides at the Jalespata Ashram Aug 23.

At least 36 people, mostly Christians, were killed and thousands of homes burnt in the district during the violence in the past weeks.

Over 20,000 people, mainly Christians, have taken shelter in private and government relief camps after their houses were torched by rampaging Hindu mobs.

Officials said curfew was lifted Friday night in parts of the region as normalcy is gradually returning to the area.

Curfew had been imposed in areas under the district’s nine police stations and prohibitory orders under Section 144 that bans the assembly of four or more people was clamped across the district.

“We lifted curfew in four police station areas and Section 144 in most parts of the district on Friday night as the situation has improved and there has been no violence over the past two weeks,” District Collector Krishan Kumar told IANS.

Now, prohibitory orders will remain in force in areas under five police stations.

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