New Delhi: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to Odisha government for setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the cases registered in connection with riots in Kandhamal district.
Petitioner Archbishop John Baruwa pleaded to the apex court to direct the state government to form an SIT headed by a senior police officer with the exclusive mandate of comprehensively looking into the 315 cases in which no offence was found to be made out or the offenders could not be detected. He pleaded for the directions to the state government to carry out further investigation into these cases.
He also prayed the court to direct Odisha to file revision petitions in acquittal cases (266) by May 2020.
The petitioner submitted that contrary to the apex court’s directions, the state did not look into these 315 cases and the state also did not take up the 266 cases of acquittals disobeying the August 2016 judgement of the SC.
He further submitted in the court that out of 284 acquittals, the state has filed only 18 revision petitions and 266 revisions are yet to be filed.The apex court is likely to take up the matter January 23.
Notably, at least three persons were killed and over 100 churches and church institutions, including convents and hostels, about 700 houses and other structures were burnt in the riots which devastated between December 24 and 27, 2007.
Similarly, 39 Christians were killed and over 395 churches vandalised, 600 villages ransacked; over 5,600 houses were looted and over 54,000 people rendered homeless in August 2008 riots in Khandhamal which allegedly sparked after the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati.