Justice A.S. Naidu Commission, which is inquiring into the communal riots in Kandhamal district in 2008, started its hearing at Phulbani on Thursday.

Justice Naidu, had taken over charge of this judicial commission in September 2012 following death of Justice Sarat Mohapatra in May, 2012. Earlier Justice Mohapatra was heading this judicial probe. On Sept. 3, 2008, the State government had ordered for a judicial probe of communal riots that had followed killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal district. Justice Mohapatra Commssion had been set up for the purpose. This judicial commission was to submit its report within six months. But the deadline for submission of report was extended five times as the enquiry could not be completed. On July 1, 2009, the Justice Mohapatra Commission had submitted a 28 page ‘interim report’ to the State government that included recommendations for remedial measures to check recurrence of communal riots in Kandhamal district.

On Thursday Justice Naidu conducted hearing of three witnesses. According to special counsel for this judicial commission, Bijay Patnaik, notices have been sent to four witnesses who had filed affidavits to appear before the Commission on Thursday.