With the situation in riot-hit Bhadrak fast returning to normal, the Odisha government relaxed the curfew for four hours on Sunday morning, but blocked WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook in the town and adjacent areas for the next 48 hours, with effect from 7 pm on Sunday.
The district administration also issued a toll free number, 1077, and a helpline, 06784-251881, for people in violence-hit areas.
Meanwhile, police on Sunday arrested Asif Ali Khan, son of local BJD leader Ajgar Ali Khan over his comments about Ram and Sita that were made on the Facebook page of Bajrang Dal activist Ajit Padhihari three days ago. Khan and two other youths had allegedly posted offensive comments on the deities on the day of Ram Navami, leading to communal tension.
Bhadrak SP Dilip Das said so far 60 people have been arrested and six cases lodged in connection with the rioting.
The CID, which was also asked to probe the alleged offensive remarks on Hindu deities on Facebook and WhatsApp posts, have started scanning all posts circulated over the last few days.
Special DG of CID B K Sharma said administrators of all WhatsApp groups on Bhadrak have been asked to furnish information. The cybercrime police station in Cuttack has lodged cases under Sections 153(A) and 295 (A).
While three companies of RAF and two companies of CRPF have arrived to assist the police, the curfew imposed on Friday was relaxed, initially from 8 am to 11 am Sunday, and later extended till noon to allow people to buy essential commodities. SP Dilip Das said the curfew would continue till 7 am Monday and further decision would be taken depending on the situation. The district administration has directed all educational institutions around the town to remain closed Monday.
The inspector-in-charge of Bhadrak town police station, Jadunath Jena, was replaced by Manoj Rout. The flare-up mostly happened in Bhadrak town police station area.
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