Odisha: Curfew imposed in Balasore as communal violence escalates - Hindustan Times
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Odisha: Curfew imposed in Balasore as communal violence escalates

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jun 18, 2024 12:47 PM IST

Chief Minister Mohan Majhi spoke to the district collector and directed that all measures be taken to keep the situation under control

Curfew has been imposed and internet was suspended in Odisha’s coastal town of Balasore on Tuesday morning, a day after two communities clashed over allegations of cow slaughter during religious celebration of a minority community, the police said.

Security forces in Balasore, Odisha. (HT Photo)
Security forces in Balasore, Odisha. (HT Photo)

On Monday afternoon, members of both the communities clashed with each other in the communally-sensitive area of Patrapada in the town after some locals found the water in the drains turning red which they suspected was that of blood of animals. Following suspicions of cow slaughter by one community, the other community confronted them, which led to stone pelting resulting in injury to at least 15 persons including five policemen. The district administration imposed Section 144 of CrPC in the area.

However, the situation escalated late on Monday night as members of one community attacked the houses of another community with stones, sticks and glass bottles setting fire to vehicles in Golapokhari, Motiganj, Cinema Chhak areas of the city late at night. The miscreants broke into various villages and pelted people’s houses with stones and set fire to them and vandalised the roads. The police had to resort to blank firing to control the situation.

“We have imposed curfew in Balasore municipality areas and shut down internet in some communally-sensitive areas to prevent any further clashes. We are appealing people not to come out of their homes. Strict action would be taken against those responsible for the clashes,” said Balasore SP Sagarika Nath.

Chief Minister Mohan Majhi spoke to the district collector and directed that all measures be taken to keep the situation under control. Peace and order shall not be allowed to be disturbed at all, he said. Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi and Sadar MLA Manas Kumar Dutt appealed people of both the communities to maintain peace.

Curfew was last imposed in Odisha’s Bhadrak town in April 2017 following communal violence triggered by derogatory comment on Ramnavami by youths of one community on Facebook. Though section 144 of CrPC was in force, over 200 bike-borne youths of a community went on a rampage, targeting shops owned by other community which resulted in retaliation by the other community. As hundreds of shops were gutted by arsonists on either side, the state government imposed curfew in the town.

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