Justice A S Naidu Commission, probing the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the large scale ethno-communal riot in Kandhmal in 2008, today began its hearing at the district headquarters town in Phulbani.
Justice Naidu was appointed as the head of the one man Kandhamal commission last year after demise of Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra, who was probing the riot since 2008. The state government had set up the inquiry commission to probe different angles into the killing of Saraswati and subsequent ethno-communal violence.
On the first day of hearing, the commission recorded statements of three persons and is scheduled to meet another batch of five people tomorrow. The persons who deposed before the commission were: Biswajeet Senapaty of Phiringia, Ramita Pradhan of Mandasore and Dasarathi Behera former MLA of Phulbani.
Before beginning the hearing, Justice Naidu visited Jalespeta ashram where Saraswati along with his four disciples were gunned down on the night of August 23, 2008 during Janmsthami celebrations. He met the ashram inmates and local people.
The commission also visited the riot hit Kurtamgarh and nearby devastated church and some reconstructed houses damaged in the riot.
Justice Naidu also visited Raikia and G.udayagiri area, affected by violence, besides verifying documents of certain riot injured persons at the local community health centre (CHC).
He also visited Nandagiri, a riot rehabilitated colony on the outskirts of G.udagiri town.
Replying to a question, Justice Naidu said that he would require at least one year for submitting final report on the riot.
The commission has already received 712 affidavits and about 170 case evidences have been recorded. Though Justice Mohapatra had toured Kandhamal earlier, this was the first visit of Justice Naidu, said Bijay Krishna Patnaik, the government pleader attached to the commission.