Odisha: Curfew, internet shutdown extended in communal violence hit Balasore - Hindustan Times
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Odisha: Curfew, internet shutdown extended in communal violence hit Balasore

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Jun 21, 2024 08:29 AM IST

On Monday, at least four incidents of minor skirmishes were reported from different parts of Odisha, but the situation escalated only in Balasore

Two days after a communal clash rocked the coastal town of Balasore, the Odisha government on Thursday extended the suspension of internet services till 10am of June 22 and the curfew till Friday midnight.

Police officials in Balasore to enforce the curfew. (HT Photo)
Police officials in Balasore to enforce the curfew. (HT Photo)

Curfew in areas under Balasore municipality has been extended with relaxation from 6am to 12 noon. During this period, all commercial establishments and routine services are allowed to operate, Balasore district collector Ashish Thakre said.

On Thursday, curfew restrictions in Balasore municipality area were relaxed between 7am and 11am to allow people to purchase essential commodities. During the relaxation period, all commercial establishments are allowed to open.

All educational institutions in the town will remain closed till June 21.

Detailing the sequence of the events, a senior police official in Balasore said the clashes began when a few locals spotted the drain water flowing near the Bhujakhia Pir, a mausoleum of a Sufi saint, turning red on Monday afternoon. After the news spread, people staged a road blockade and held up traffic on Chandipur-Balasore Main Road, which was opposed by people from a minority community. Some members of one community started pelting stones at the protestors without any provocation, forcing the police to intervene to bring the situation under control. A few policemen were also hurt in the stone pelting.

The situation escalated late on Monday night after members of one community attacked a religious shrine in Suelpiur area of the city and attacked the houses of people of another community with stones, sticks and glass bottles. The police had to resort to blank firing to control the situation.

“Normally during the religious ceremony of one community, animals are sacrificed and it is quite likely that goat or sheep may have been killed and the blood was drained in the nullah. It would be difficult to find out whether cow was sacrificed as is being alleged. The water from the drain has been sent for forensic test,” a police official said.

Incidentally on Monday, at least four incidents of minor skirmishes were reported from different parts of Odisha, but the situation escalated only in Balasore.

On Thursday, director general of police Arun Sarangi visited Balasore and held meeting with police officials of the district as well as Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi and Balasore Sadar MLA Manas Dutta.

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