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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

2008 Odisha riots probe hits dead end

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 09, 2013
First Published: 01:04 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:10 IST(9/9/2013)

Five years after communal riots shook Odisha, justice has eluded the victims and the probe into the murder of a Hindu sage’s murder, which triggered the incident, has hit a dead end, a book “Kandhamal Craves For Justice” reveals.

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Of the 84,000 accused, only about 4% could be brought to trial, data from the book by journalist Anto Akkara showed. In a recent letter to Odisha government, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) had sought to know the reasons behind the high acquittal rate of accused persons in the communal riots of Kandhamal in 2008.

The book says that seven persons were accused of the murder of Swami Lakshmananda and so far no charges have been proved against them in the trial. The book claims a retrial as in the Best Bakery case was required. “Therefore, it is very pertinent that the National Investigation Agency should now be handed the probe,” the book said. 

A national people’s tribunal, in an earlier flagship report, concluded that justice has eluded the survivors of the riots owing to high acquittals of accused and low compensation to survivors.

In a recent letter to the Odisha government, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) too had sought to know the reasons behind the high acquittal rate of accused persons in the communal riots of Kandhamal in 2008.

 According to the NCM, while 361 people were convicted, 2,246 people have been acquitted due to lack of proper evidence against them.


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