Kishtwar Riots:Gandhi report likely this week

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SRINAGAR: Justice (Retd) R.C Gandhi heading the one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) constituted by the government to probe the August 9 riots in Kishtwar is likely to submit his final report this week.

Reliable sources said, that if Justice (Retd) Gandhi’s report exonerates Sajad Ahmad Kitchloo who had resigned as Minister of State Home, following the riots, the chief minister Omar Abdullah is likely to re-induct him in his council of ministers.

Kitchloo, had on August 12, tendered his resignation over the issue of Kishtwar violence saying: “Some political parties are trying to malign my name. I am innocent and have done no wrong.”

Kichloo’s resignation had come after a strong demand from the opposition and an uproar in the Parliament after communal clashes in the region in which three people were reportedly killed.  The chief minister Omar Abdullah had later ordered a time-bound judicial probe into the violence.

“I want the truth should come out. Chief Minister has ordered a judicial probe [by a retired High Court judge]. My conscience does not allow me to continue as a Minister till the probe files its findings,” Mr. Kichloo said in a press conference. He had said he was resigning for he didn’t want his presence to cast shadow on an independent probe. “Mr Omar Abdullah is my leader and I have full faith in him and above all I have an endearing faith in Almighty. Truth shall prevail and justice will be done,” he said.

He had alleged that certain political parties were trying to malign his name by blaming him for the violence. “My electorate of Kishtwar vouch for my secular credentials. I am deeply hurt that for petty political ends some people have stooped so low as to accuse me of something I have not done.”

On August 24, the state government had constituted a one-man Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (retired) Gandhi to probe the Kishtwar communal clashes in which three persons died and dozens others were injured.

According to a government order, the terms of reference for the Commission included enquiring into the circumstances which led to the violence and arson and the consequent loss of life and property in District Kishtwar. The commission was also supposed to enquire into the administrative lapses, if any, while handling the situation; and fix the responsibility of the persons, involved in acts of violence, arson and the loss of life and property.

The Commission was however, supposed to submit its report to the Government within a period of one month from the date it was appointed. But the government later granted extensions to it to complete the probe.

Communal clashes broke out in Kishtwar town in Jammu region on the day of Eid, leaving three persons dead and dozens others injured. Property worth crores was set ablaze by the rival communities, forcing the government to impose curfew and seek assistance of the army in controlling the situation.

The curfew was lifted after 12 days following visit by an all-party delegation and senior ministers of the state government that led to reconciliation between the two communities. (KNS)

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