Report On Kishtwar Riots Rocks House

29 March 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Amit Khajuria

Jammu: Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the Legislative Assembly today after BJP legislators demanded the immediate arrest of Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo, former Minister of State in the Home Department in Omar Abdullah-led government, following submission of Justice Gandhi Commission report to the government. Kichloo is among around 60 civil and police officers and leaders who had been indicted by the Commission which was constituted to look into communal riots and violence in Kishtwar town after Eid prayers on August 9, 2013. Three persons had lost their lives, over 80 injured and more than 100 shops and business establishments set on fire in the riots. As soon as the House assembled for the day's proceedings, BJP MLAs were on their feet. They created a ruckus, alleging that NC leader Kichloo, currently a Member of Legislative Council, the then Inspector General of Police, Doda Range DIG Ashkoor Wani and Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Saleem had been indicted by the Commission. They demanded the immediate arrest of the NC leader and sought action against the officers for their alleged involvement in the riots. Later, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Syed Basharat Bukhari informed the House that the government had received the report of Justice Gandhi Commission, but it was yet to examine it. 'Action will be taken soon after examining the report,' he said. Following the violence and riots, the then National Conference-Congress coalition government had constituted a one-man Commission, which was assigned the task to probe the circumstances that led to communal violence in Kishtwar. Kichloo had to resign from the post on moral grounds following his alleged failure in controlling the violence. In its interim report in December, 2013, Gandhi Commission gave Kichloo a clean chit. He was re-inducted into the council of ministers thereafter. Kichloo was the MLA from Kishtwar and was in town when communal violence took place in the town. Outside the Legislative Assembly, BJP MLA from Kishtwar Sunil Sharma demanded that former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah should be arrested along with Kichloo and other officers involved in the riots for misleading the Assembly and people of the country. 'We were saying from Day One that Kichloo was leading the riots, but no one believed us. The Commission constituted by the NC-led government accepted that Kichloo, the then IGP, the DIG and the DC are culprits of the riots,' he said. He is holding charge as Minister of State for PWD and Revenue. 'Not only Kichloo, but then Chief Minister Omar should be booked as well for misleading the people of the country over the riots. The Commission may find Kichloo a culprit, but the BJP and the people of Kishtwar believe that Omar is a culprit as well. They have created a wall in the state,' he added. Earlier, the BJP had been opposing Gandhi Commission, alleging that the Commission was biased and pro-NC. After the submission of the final report, it accepted the report and demanded action against the then Chief Minister, Minister of State and other officers.