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Justice Naidu takes over Kandhamal riot commission

Bhubaneswar: Justice A S Naidu on Monday formally took charge of the judicial probe into the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati and a communal riot that followed in Kandhamal district and elsewhere in 2008.

Justice Naidu, a retired Orissa High Court judge, was named by the state government as the one-man judicial commission of the Kandhamal case after the demise of Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra four months ago.

“I will try to expedite the probe and complete it,” Justice Naidu said after verifyig records at the commission’s office here. The state government had set up a judicial commission on September 3, 2008 immediately after the killing of Saraswati on August 23, 2008.

At least 38 people were killed in Kandhamal alone while the total death toll in the communal riots in the aftermath of Saraswati was 42 in the state. About 4,000 houses besides come churches were burnt during the riot.

While a girl was burnt alive in Baragarh district during the riot, a woman nun was allegedly raped by the mob at Baliguda in Kandhamal district.

Of the total 706 affidavits filed before the commission in connection with the riot, only 164 have so far been accepted while others were at the examination level.

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