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Kamat promises judicial inquiry into recent violence

Special Correspondent
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Chief Minister of Goa Digambar Kamat holding a discussion with president of UTAA Prakash Velip in Panaji on Saturday.
Chief Minister of Goa Digambar Kamat holding a discussion with president of UTAA Prakash Velip in Panaji on Saturday.

Under pressure to act against errant officials responsible for the alleged mishandling of the tribal people's strike on Wednesday, which turned violent leading to the death of two tribal youths, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Saturday promised the United Tribals' Alliance Association (UTAA) that he would order a judicial inquiry into the violence, claimed the UTAA.

The Chief Minister along with Minister for Forests Philipe Neri Rodrigues visited the tribal people who on hunger strike for the second day at the Azad Maidan in the city. Mr .Kamat agreed to fulfil their demand to suspend south Goa Collector Gokuldas Naik and take action against those involved in attack on the tribal people during their agitation at Balli in south Goa. UTAA president Prakash Velip toldThe Hinduthat the Chief Minister had promised them that action would be initiated against the police officials for the lapses on their part.

“We will come back here for a hunger strike on Monday if the Chief Minister fails to fulfil his promises,” he said.

Earlier addressing presspersons, Goa police spokesman and Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande appealed to the leEaders of the UTAA and families of the youth whose charred bodies were found after the agitation to cooperate with the police to identify the bodies.

The tribal people have decided not to take the bodies till they get justice. The worst fears of an error of judgment by Mr. Gokuldas Naik in ordering a lathi-charge against the agitators appeared to have come true when Mr. Deshpande, in reply to a question at his press conference, conceded that “circumstances were not conducive for a lathi-charge, some amount of restraint was needed” as the police force comprised 160 personnel against a crowd of over 4,000 which was restless and throwing stones on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr. Deshpande said the crowd was placed at a higher elevation, many of them were drunk and were armed with stones and sticks while the police were in a low area and surrounded by shops and houses.

He, however, went on to defend the Collector's point of view and said the crowd was not willing to disperse despite repeated warnings on public sound system.

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