Temple tragedy report missing

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 14.11.06
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Bhubaneswar, Nov. 14: Ten days after a stampede left four pilgrims dead and 23 injured near the sanctum sanctorum of Puri’s Jagannath temple, the government today said the report of a judicial probe into a similar incident in 1993 has gone missing.

“The whereabouts of the report are not known,” law minister Biswabhusan Harichandan conceded before the Assembly today while replying to a debate on an adjournment motion pertaining to the November 4 tragedy.

Justice (Retd) J. Mohapatra had headed the judicial commission — announced by the then Biju Patnaik government — to probe into the 1993 stampede in Jagannath temple in which six persons died. The tragedy took place during the Nagarjuna Besha festival. Mohapatra reportedly submitted the report to J.B. Patnaik, the successor of Naveen Patnaik’s father, in 1995.

Today, when the members demanded that the inquiry report be tabled in the House, the minister said it was not available with the government.

Intervening in the discussion, leader of Opposition J.B. Patnaik said Justice (Retd) Mohapatra recently told a TV channel that he submitted the report to the government and so, it could not have gone missing as was claimed today.

Speaker Maheswar Mohanty asked Harichandan to inquire into the matter and make a statement tomorrow.

The chief justice, said the minister, has nominated Justice P.K. Mohanty to probe the November 4 tragedy on a government request.