Odisha's Bhadrak town continues to be tense even two days after violence broke out there over alleged offensive posts on Facebook against a particular community.
Curfew has been extended till Sunday 8 am and prohibitory order under CrPC Section 144 remain in place. Police have detained 35 people so far in connection with the clashes.
Angry protesters set ablaze shops and torched police vehicles as clashes erupted in Bhadrak town on Thursday. At least 4 police officers were injured while trying to defuse tensions.
Tension flared up after a group of protesters demonstrated outside the local police station in Bhadrak, demanding arrest of those responsible for posting alleged offensive remarks against Hindu deities on Facebook.
VHP and Bajrang Dal activists took to the streets, burnt tyres and blocked roads demanding action against the miscreants. The district administration organised peace committee talks to pacify them but failed to reach a consensus.
BHADRAK DISTRICT COLLECTOR REMOVED
Meanwhile, the Odisha government has removed Bhadrak District Collector LN Mishra, replacing him with Cuttack Municipal Commissioner Gyana Ranjan Das. Senior bureaucrats such as Odisha Home Secretary Asit Tripathy and DGP K B Singh are in Bhadrak monitoring the situation. An additional police force has been deployed in the area to thwart any untoward incidents.
Odisha DGP KB Singh said that police had identified the miscreants who were trying to fan trouble. "We have identified the persons (trying to fan trouble). As many as 35 platoons of police force have been deployed in Bhadrak town. IG is camping in the area. We will not allow anyone to disrupt communal harmony. The situation is now under control", Singh said.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appealed for calm in the state. Patnaik, who is currently visiting New Delhi tweeted, "I sincerely appeal to all in Bhadrak to maintain peace and harmony. I have directed stringent action against any attempt to disrupt peace."