Commission probing Guwahati violence gets no witness


Guwahati : There was a hue and cry for a judicial probe into the shameful act of Nov 24, 2007 in which a tribal woman was stripped in broad daylight here during mob violence that also led to the death one person and injured 200 more. But the probe commission hasn’t got a witness yet.

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Under pressure after the violence, the state government immediately constituted a commission of inquiry headed by justice (retired) R.K. Manisena Singh.

But when the one-man commission started a much-publicized public hearing Monday, not a single witness came forward to testify. The various political parties and organizations that had demanded the probe also failed to turn up before Singh.

“No one from the public came for the hearing,” Singh said.

Thousands of Santhal tribals, one of the 120 communities working in Assam’s tea gardens, took out a protest march in Guwahati Nov 24 demanding the inclusion of the community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. Clashes broke out after the protestors went on a rampage, damaging vehicles and shops.

The locals retaliated and in the ensuing clashes, the tribals were outnumbered. This triggered a violent backlash, with the All Assam Adivasi (tribal) Students Association (AAASA) and the All Assam Santhal Students Union (AASSU) leading the protest. Singh received six representations, including an oral one, after the commission put out newspaper advertisements Dec 2 seeking evidence of the incident.

“Since no one came to testify I have ordered issuance of summons to the witnesses,” Singh said Monday.

The government constituted the commission to find out if there was a conspiracy behind the incident and get to the bottom of the case and identify those responsible for the violence.

The commission has been asked to submit its report by Feb 28.