Retired Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar is among 55 people asked to appear before a government-appointed commission probing the killing of a Hindu religious leader in Odisha, eastern India.
The one-man commission headed by the Justice A S Naidu has asked them to appear either personally or through lawyers to record their statements on the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kandhamal in 2008 that triggered several weeks of sectarian violence in Kandhamal, a backward state in Odisha.
Those issued notices also include Catholic human rights activist John Dayal, former members of parliament Radhakanta Nayak and Nakul Nayak and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal.
The Odisha government on October 1 appointed Justice Naidu, a former judge of the Odisha High Court, to head the commission after the death of Justice S C Mohapatra who headed it since 2008.
Mohapatra, who died in May this year due to illness, could not complete the inquiry and failed to submit his final report although he had given an interim report in 2009.
The unprecedented communal riots in Kandhamal had claimed several lives and rendered thousands homeless.
The crime branch of the state police that had probed the Hindu religious leader’s killing had held Maoists operating in the district responsible.
Many were arrested in connection with the riots and their trials are still on in two special courts set up in Kandhamal.