Current Affairs

Balli Commission Report: Police In-Charge and District Collector Blamed

The Justice SK Shah commission that investigated the May 25, 2011, Balli riots has held then South Goa district collector GP Naik and then South Goa SP Tony Fernandes responsible for the situation going out of hand.

Sources in the government said the report, submitted to the government on Tuesday, has held carelessness and negligence on the part of Naik and Fernandes in failing to control the crowd as reasons for the riot.

Thousands of tribals were protesting the government’s failure to resolve their pending demands.

The agitation was organized by the United Tribal Associations’ Alliance (UTAA). UTAA activists Mangesh Gaonkar, 26, and Dilip Velip, 27, were charred to death during the agitation after a building was set on fire.

Sources stated the report said that the riot could have been avoided by the authorities if vehicles of the UTAA activists had been blocked before reaching the spot.

The report also said that even after going through video footage of the incident, police failed to identify the culprits involved in the death of two UTAA members, sources said.

The commission recorded the statements of over 70 persons in preparing the report.

Talking about the failure of the police to tackle the agitation, the report made a reference to an incident in which a judge was caught in the traffic blockade.

When police were made aware of the person’s identity, they made arrangements to divert the vehicle he was travelling in by another road. Referring to this the commission has questioned as to why police did not divert all traffic instead of keeping the highway closed.

The commission was instituted following demands of tribal and political leaders. Soon after the incident the government had ordered a magisterial inquiry which was completed in two weeks.

Tribal leaders’ failure to control the mob, inadequate police force, and no intention of holding a peaceful demonstration by tribals led to the May 25 fracas at Balli were the findings of the magisterial inquiry.

The magisterial report had stated that UTAA members who went to Balli had no intention of holding a peaceful demonstration as they had gone there with sticks, stones and lathis.

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