Curfew remained in force on Saturday, and about 10 people were detained after violence broke out in Dhamnagar and Basudevpur areas of Odisha on Thursday over alleged abusive remarks on social media against Hindu deities Rama and Sita.
This incident occurred around a week before the the Bharatiya Janata Party’s National Executive meeting is set to be be held in Bhubaneshwar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and several other Union ministers, besides the Chief Ministers of BJP-ruling states are scheduled to attend the two-day event on 15-16 April.
Section 144 Imposed
On Thursday, a group of angry people, including youth members from Bajarang Dal, VHP and Sri Ramnavami Committee, staged demonstration near the town police station and left several shops gutted and vehicles damaged.
The VHP, however, denied its own and Bajrang Dal’s role in Bhadrak unrest at a press conference held in Cuttack. They blamed anti-social groups instigating unrest.
Section 144 of the IPC (punishment for those joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon) has been imposed in Bhadrak till 8 am on Sunday. Around 35 platoons of police have been deployed to patrol the sensitive localities, police said.
Additionally, 300 Central paramilitary personnel have been deployed in Bhadrak.
All entry and exit points have been sealed and nobody is allowed to enter the town or move out, they said.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan appealed to the citizens of Odisha to stay calm and asked Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik to take control of the situation.
I appeal to all citizens of Bhadrak to stay calm.
No Group Clashes or Death Yet
The violence-hit town wore a deserted look as shops, business establishments, educational institutions and other organisations remained closed.
Senior officials including Home Secretary Asit Tripathy and Director General of Police KB Singh have been camping in Bhadrak to monitor and supervise operations to restore peace and normalcy in the town.
A close vigil is on, the DGP said and added that the situation was now under control after some violent incidents took place in the town, but there was no group clash or deaths.
A host of leaders, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said stringent action would be taken against the troublemakers.
Though the district administration clamped prohibitory orders, tension persisted and fresh violence broke out on Friday after a peace meeting convened by the administration to restore normalcy and maintain communal harmony failed to yield result.
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