'Lack of assistance delaying probe report'
More than four months after the incident, the one-man commission directed to submit its report on the Kishtwar riots by October 22, has still not done so, due to lack of assistance from government departments.india Updated: Dec 13, 2013 19:00 IST
More than four months after the incident, the one-man commission directed to submit its report on the Kishtwar riots by October 22, has still not done so, due to lack of assistance from government departments.
Sources privy to the commission have shared that being a "very sensitive" issue, the government's information and cooperation was a must for a timely and fair probe, but the departments were delaying providing the information required.
"The completion of the report depends on their cooperation," they added.
However, the sources said the commission was on the job and repeated reminders were being passed to the departments concerned for prompt assistance.
A source added that it was a "very exhaustive" exercise. "Earlier, only Justice Gandhi and his assistant were conducting the processing. It was only on October 28 that the government provided surveyors, assessors and adequate manpower to the commission to facilitate the probe."
He added, "The commission is working overtime to complete this mammoth exercise, and is probing the incident deeply. So far, the commission has recorded the statements of around 400 witnesses. All the witnesses were cross-examined, and now the statements of officers are to be recorded.
The scrutiny of a large number of affidavits is still pending. The commission has visited Kishtwar five times and held a series of meetings with both communities involved in the incident, local administration and trade bodies."
According to the information given by the source, submission of the report may take more than a month.
On Eid-ul-Fitr on August 9 this year, communal clashes broke out in Kishtwar town in Jammu, leaving three people dead and dozens injured. Property worth crores was set ablaze by rival communities, forcing the government to impose curfew and seek assistance of the Army to control the riots.
The curfew was lifted after 12 days, following the visit of an all-party delegation and senior ministers of the state government, which led to reconciliation between the two communities.
However, after the public outcry on August 9, the state government ordered a probe into the incident.
On August 23, the government appointed Justice Gandhi, a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir high court, as a one-man commission of inquiry to conduct a probe into the violence and asked him to submit a report within one month.
The terms of reference for the commission included inquiring into the circumstances which led to the violence and arson, and the consequent loss of life and property in Kishtwar district.
On September 28, the state government gave a month's extension to the commission.