Odisha: Communal tension in three towns over immersion processions

Towns of Rourkela, Balasore, Soro, Pattamundai in Odisha faced communal violence over deity immersion processions.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Updated: September 13, 2016 8:48 am
odisha, odisha communal violence, communal violence, communal violence rourkela, communal violence balasore, communal violence india, india news, indian express Policemen stand as curfew is imposed in the town of Soro, Odisha. (Express photo)

Communal tension continued to grip three towns of Odisha as violence erupted between two communities during immersion processions of Lord Ganesha and another local deity. In the steel city of Rourkela, section 144 of CrPC was imposed late Monday night after some miscreants hurled bricks at an idol of Lord Ganesha when the immersion procession reached minority-dominated Nala Road. Some vehicles were burnt and shops damaged.

Soon after the immersion procession of Ganesh idols reached Nala Road area at around 11 pm, bricks were hurled at the idol, damaging it. Enraged by the incident, members of the majority community torched a car and damaged two scooters. Shops were ransacked and vehicles damaged by members of both communities. Police had to resort to lathi charging. Protesting the hurling of bricks, members of several Puja Committees kept their procession on the road demanding action against the miscreants.

Similarly, coastal Pattamundai town of Kendrapara district continued to simmer as members of minority community opposed the use of loudspeakers and beating of drums in front of a mosque during an immersion procession of Ma Khudurukuni, a local deity. More than than 1000 people blocked the Pattamundai-Rajnagar road demanding strict action against the people who prevented them from using the loudspeakers.

Kendrapara SP Nitinjit Singh said the situation is under control. “We have deployed adequate forces in view of the anticipated troubles between the two communities today,” said Singh.

In Soro town of Balasore, police lifted the 12-hour curfew which they had imposed Monday evening following incidents of communal violence since last 3 days.

odisha, odisha communal violence, communal violence, communal violence rourkela, communal violence balasore, communal violence india, india news, indian express Vandalised property in Rourkela. (Express photo)

Balasore SP Niti Sekhar said prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code would still be in force barring a few hours on Tuesday in view of Eid. The SP said the minority community has been allowed to hold mass prayers, but no processions will be allowed. Nineteen platoons of police have been deployed. Curfew was reimposed last evening after five shops in the town were torched despite imposition of section 144 of CrPC. Nine persons have been arrested so far.

On the night of August 9, there was heavy brick-batting between two communities when the immersion procession of Ganesha pandals was passing Pathan Mahalla in the Soro market area. Seven people were injured in the clash.

In July this year, Rourkela witnessed communal tension over over an inflammatory message on a Whatsapp group. People from minority community gathered in large numbers at the main roads of Rourkela ahead of the Lord Jagannath’s bahuda yatra and disrupted traffic by burning tyres after a youth posted a objectionable comment on minority community in a WhatsApp group. The 19-year-old youth was allegedly assaulted by members of the minority community.