Kitchloo was dropped from Omar Abdullah ministry over the allegations in connection with the riots but was re-inducted after an interim report of the Commission in December 2013 exonerated him.
Zee News Bureau
Controversy erupted on Sunday over the final report of a Commission of Inquiry into the 2013 communal riots in Kishtwar because the panel has reportedly indicted State’s former Minister of State Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo after having exonerated him of “any involvement at any level”.Kitchloo was dropped from Omar Abdullah ministry over the allegations in connection with the riots but was re-inducted after an interim report of the Commission in December 2013 exonerated him.Both the Congress and the National Conference raised questions on the credibility of the Commission and demanded an impartial probe.”We have not seen the report as yet. If the media reports are true and Justice R C Gandhi Commission has indicted Sajad Ahmad Kichloo, it puts a big question mark on the credibility of the Commission,” NC’s provincial president Devendar Rana said.”In its interim report, he (Justice Gandhi) had also said that there is not a single affidavit filed by the people that points finger towards Kichloo,” Rana said.On August 9, 2013, communal clashes broke out after Eid prayers which left four persons dead and over 80 injured. A large number of houses and vehicles were also burnt. Members of ruling BJP-PDP combine attacked Opposition National Conference demanding arrest of Kitchloo, who was Minister of State for Home in the Congress-NC government.As the Assembly met on Sunday, members from the treasury benches were on their feet raising slogans against Kitchloo. They displayed a news report which claimed that the Gandhi Commission had indicted Kitchloo, the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Jammu Rajesh Kumar, the then DIG Doda-Kishtwar range Ashkoor Wani and the then Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar Mohammad Saleem.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Ahmed Bukhari said the PDP-BJP government is yet to examine the report of Justice R C Gandhi.”We have received the report. We could not examine it in view of being occupied with the budget session. We will study it,” Bukhari told the J-K Assembly which witnessed uproar over the issue.”We proceeded on facts and evidence. What was in the interim report was also (based) on evidence and what is in the final report is also based on evidence,” said Justice Gandhi, who headed the commission. He, however, refused to divulge details of the report saying it is the property of the state government. “It is for the government to take a view of it,” Gandhi said when contacted.As the protests continued in the House, Speaker Kavinder Gupta said the issue cannot be taken up as Kitchloo is not a member of the House after which the MLAs took their seats.”It is wrong to pre-judge things and blame one person,” said former Speaker and NC MLA Mohammad Akbar Lone.BJP said the report has vindicated the party’s stand that Kitchloo was “responsible” for the riots. “The Justice Gandhi report, which has indicted the NC leader and senior officials, has vindicated our stand that the then local MLA (MoS Home) was responsible for the Kishtwar riots”, state BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said.