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regular-article-logo Saturday, 02 March 2024

BJP team denied entry into Sambalpur

The members of the delegation included Union minister Bisweshwar Tudu, Baragarh MP Suresh Pujari, Sundergarh MP Jual Oram and Kalahandi MP Basant Panda

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 19.04.23, 04:27 AM
Sambalpur superintendent of police (SP) Battula Gangadhar told The Telegraph: “Section 144 is still in force in the district. All of them have been detained for violating section 144.”

Sambalpur superintendent of police (SP) Battula Gangadhar told The Telegraph: “Section 144 is still in force in the district. All of them have been detained for violating section 144.” Representational picture

The Sambalpur district administration in Odisha denied permission to a BJP delegation, led by its state unit president Manmohan Samal, to enter the violence-hit city on Tuesday.

The members of the delegation included Union minister Bisweshwar Tudu, Baragarh MP Suresh Pujari, Sundergarh MP Jual Oram and Kalahandi MP Basant Panda. While Tudu went back, other leaders were detained at the local police station in Sambalpur. Although they insisted on entering the town, the police remained adamant.

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Sambalpur superintendent of police (SP) Battula Gangadhar told The Telegraph: “Section 144 is still in force in the district. All of them have been detained for violating section 144.”

Giving more details, additional SP Tapan Kumar Mohanty said: “While the Sambalpur city is under curfew, section 144 has been imposed in the entire district. The district border has already been sealed since Friday. According to the order, no political party delegations and others are allowed to enter Sambalpur. If one enters the district, we will take action according to the provisions of law.”

The city had witnessed large-scale violence in two phases, one on April 12 during a bike rally that was organised ahead of the Hanuman Jayanti celebration and then on April 14 during the Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

Sources said the police denied the BJP leaders permission to enter the town as their visit was likely to aggravate the situation.

“We had already appealed to the people not to enter the town and cooperate in bringing back normalcy inthe areas. If we had allowed the team’s visit to Sambalpur and they had been able tomeet the injured, it would certainly have led to further violence.

“Although the situation is slowly limping back to normalcy, tension continues in the area. We can not take risks at the moment. Our first priority is to restore and instil confidence in the people,” said a senior police official.

In another significant decision to bring back normalcy in the area, the district administration has suspended internet services for another 24 hours in the district. However, the curfew in the town was relaxed for eight-and-a-half hours in two phases from 7am to 1pm and 3.30pm to 6pm.

BJP MP Suresh Pujari told The Telegraph: “Thedetention of the delegation is illegal. They failed to showthe reasons why they detained us. On Monday night, we talked to the revenue divisional commissioner and Sambalpur SP about our proposed visit.

“They had given their consent. We had planned to visit those injured in the riots and also wanted to meet the family members of the tribal youth who was hacked to death on Friday night when the Hanuman Jayanti procession was on its way.”

Earlier, a delegation of BJP had visited Sambalpur town on Friday, the day of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations, and was allowed to participate in the procession.

However, after incidents of arson and outbreaks of violence were reported, the administration imposed a curfew in the district and was not in the mood to allow the political parties to take advantage of the situation.

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