20 Days After Appointment: Inquiry Comm To Visit Kishtwar Today

20 Days After Appointment: Inquiry Comm To Visit Kishtwar Today

13 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: More than 20 days after his announcement as one man Inquiry Commission to inquire into August 9 violence in Kishtwar, which caused large scale destruction of property of the minorities apart from three killings, Justice RC Gandhi, a retired Judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court is visiting Kishtwar for the first time tomorrow to set the process of inquiry into motion. Official sources told the Excelsior that Justice (Retired) Gandhi would operate from Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), Kishtwar apart from visiting the site of violence, killings etc to inquire into the circumstances leading to the clashes and killings, administrative lapses and all other aspects leading to the worst ever destruction of property. The State Government had on August 23 announced the appointment of Justice Gandhi as one man Inquiry Commission into the Kishtwar incidents. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had announced judicial inquiry into the riots earlier. Though Justice Gandhi had been given one month time to complete the inquiry, sources said the letter appointing the retired Judge as the Inquiry Commission reached him only a couple of days back, leading to delay in his visit. As nearly 20 days since the Government announcement of appointing Justice Gandhi as the Inquiry Commission have already passed, it would not only be difficult but rather impossible for the Judge to meet the one month deadline of completing the inquiry for which only 10 days have been left. The Government had asked the Inquiry Commission to enquire into the circumstances, which led to the violence and arson and the consequent loss of life and property in Kishtwar district. It would also 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 loss of life and property. Sources said a Special Investigating Team (SIT), constituted by the Police Headquarters for investigating all cases related to violence on August 9 in Kishtwar, have so far arrested 50 persons in connection with rioting, arson etc. However, no arrests have so far been made in connection with three killings. The SIT has also seized a JCB machine, which had been used by the miscreants of majority community to demolish shop of the minorities. Sources said the very fact that the miscreants of majority community had a field day on August 9 in the presence of former Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo, NC MLA from Kishtwar and entire civil and police administrative machinery was evident from the fact the mob used JCB to selectively target the shops of minorities and administration watched it helplessly. Mr Kitchloo had to resign as the Minister in the wake of Kishtwar violence. Sources said out of a total of 41 guns looted by the mob of majority community during August 9 vandalism, the SIT has managed to recover 24 while 17 12 bore guns remained untraced so far. “Efforts were on to recover the remaining guns before they land in the hands of anti-national elements,’’ sources said. The SIT, worthwhile to mention here, has also started presenting charge-sheets against the rioters in the court of law. It may be mentioned here that large scale violence had erupted in Kishtwar on the occasion of Eid festival on August 9 when miscreants of majority community had indulged in large scale vandalism of the property of minorities. Curfew had to be imposed for several days and Army deployed to maintain law and order.