Kandhamal riot in 2007 pre-planned: Top officials

Cuttack: Appearing before Justice Basudev Panigrahi Commission of Enquiry, two top state officials on Wednesday said that 2007 communal riot in Kandhamal district was `pre-planned.`

The cross examination of the two, former Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) and ex-Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of south range Satyabrata Sahu and R P Kotche respectively, remained inconclusive for the day.

During the deposition the duo maintained the riot was pre-planned and to restrict the movement of police, the perpetrators were engaged in massive tree felling on roads.

They further said "the movement of armed police in the district was severely hampered resulting in wide-spread violence which could not be controlled on time." Both the officers, summoned by the Commission under section 8-B of the Commission of Enquiry Act, maintained that the administration had taken adequate steps to prevent the flare-up in the district.

The two claimed that though efforts were made at the administrative level to maintain peace in the area, things suddenly went out of control. Besides the two officials, a constable of local armed police force also deposed before the panel on the day.

The constable had to fire nine rounds in air to quell a mob which was heading towards the local police station. The cross-examination would again resume from Thursday along with four more persons who have been asked to appear before the commission.