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Curfew remains in force in violence-hit Bhadrak town

Curfew remains in force in violence-hit Bhadrak town

Bhadrak : Curfew remained in force in the town while prohibitory orders were imposed in nearby Dhamnagar and Basudevpur this morning after the town witnessed violence over alleged abusive remarks on social media against Hindu deities.

While additional force was also deployed in Bhadrak where curfew will remain in force till tomorrow morning, prohibitory orders were imposed in Dhamnagar and Basudevpur this morning as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of violence, a police official said.

Senior officials including Home Secretary Asit Tripathy and Director General of Police K B 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 and no loss of life.

Utmost care is being taken to maintain harmony and adequate force has been deployed in order to prevent any flare up and restore peace and normalcy, he said.

A host of leaders including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan appealed to the people to maintain peace.

The chief minister said stringent action would be taken against the trouble makers.

About 20 people have been detained in connection with the violent incidents which left several shops gutted and vehicles damaged. About 1,100 police personnel, deployed across the town, have been patrolling the sensitive localities, police said.

All entry and exit points have been sealed and nobody is allowed to enter the town or move out, they said.

The violence-hit town wore a deserted look as shops, business establishments, educational institutions and other organisations remained closed.

Violence had erupted in Bhadrak on Thursday after a group staged demonstration near the town police station demanding immediate arrest of those involved in posting offensive remarks against Hindu deities on social media.

Though the district administration clamped prohibitory orders, tension persisted and fresh violence broke out yesterday after a peace meeting convened by the administration to restore normalcy and maintain communal harmony failed to yield result.

The state government appointed Gyanaranjan Das, who was the Commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), as Bhadrak Collector and asked him to take charge immediately.

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, who was scheduled to attend a function in Bhadrak today, cancelled his visit and slammed the state government for unrest in the town.

As curfew remains in force, residents of several areas of Bhadrak said they were facing problem in procuring essential commodities including food items.

–PTI