Tension over an inflammatory WhatsApp message continued to prevail in Rourkela for the second day on Friday, even as police imposed Section 144 of CrPC around the town to avert communal clashes.
Rourkela SP Anirudh Singh said that 23 platoons of CRPF and local police had been deployed in the city and members of all the communities resolved to maintain peace during a panel meeting. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC were clamped from Ambedkar Chak at Uditnagar to Madhusudan Marg. Shops remained closed in some parts of the city during the day. Sundargarh district collector Bhupindar Singh Poonia said that the situation in the area was normal.
Officials, however, said they would be watchful as the local VHP unit had called for a bandh in Rourkela on Saturday.
On Thursday evening, members of the Muslim community gathered in large numbers on the main roads of Rourkela ahead of the Lord Jagannath’s bahuda yatra (chariot procession). They protested against an objectionable comment, involving the Muslim community, that was allegedly made by a 19-year-old youth on a WhatsApp group.
The protesters allegedly assaulted the youth and disrupted traffic by blocking the roads with burning tyres.
However, they allowed the Bahuda Yatra to pass after the youth was detained.