Sarat Chandra Mohapatra,a former high court judge who was probing,the 2008 Kandhamal riots died Saturday,leaving the fate of the inquiry uncertain.
Mohapatra was 81. In September 2008,he was tasked with probing the reasons that led to the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and the subsequent Kandhamal riots.
His death has cast uncertainity over the inquiry into the Kandhamal riots as the government is unsure what to do with the commission of inquiry. Mohapatra was expected to complete his probe in six months.
Though hamstrung by an indifferent bureaucracy and civil society that did not answer to his repeated summons for appearance,Mohapatra had managed to question over 200 witnesses and only about 20 were left to be examined.
In June 2009,Mahapatra submitted his interim report. He did not blame anyone for the violence,but suggested that the government take remedial measures on issues of land dispute,fake caste certificate and proselytisation urgently.