regular-article-logo Saturday, 23 September 2023

Hanuman Jayanti violence: Internet services suspended for 48 hours, 43 detained in Sambalpur

At least 10 police personnel including a woman cop were injured in the clashes

PTI Sambalpur Published 13.04.23, 01:17 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

The Odisha government suspended internet services in Sambalpur district for 48 hours from 10 AM of Thursday to check the spread of false rumours which could incite fresh rioting after a Hanuman Jayanti procession a day before had turned violent.

Some 43 people have been detained so far for the violence which broke out on Wednesday which also resulted in injuries to at least 10 police personnel including a policewoman. However, the number of civilians injured in the incident is yet to be made public.


A flag march is expected to be held soon in all sensitive areas by the police as a show of strength and to deter possible violence in the city, officials said.

"The situation is critical and miscreants are circulating false and inflammatory messages through social media to disturb public order in Sambalpur district," the notification issued by Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, DK Singh, prohibiting internet use and access in Sambalpur, said.

The administration clamped prohibitory order under section 144 CrPC in areas coming under six police stations - Town, Dhanupali, Khetrajpur, Ainthapali, Bareipali and Sadar - in Sambalpur city.

Singh said internet was suspended to prevent circulation of "inflammatory and motivated messages", which have the "potential to inflame communal passion".

The notification said, “No access to social media…WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & …. Suspension of internet/data services of all MSPs & ISPs and Broadband dial up system,” will be allowed.

Sambalpur SP B Gangadhar said that 43 people have been detained and 26 people have so far booked under different sections of the IPC. They will be forwarded to the court.

The SP said 30 platoons of police force have been deployed in the area to stall any further attempts to create trouble.

Asked if the violence was part of a conspiracy, the SP said: "We think it is a sporadic incident. Investigation is going on. The situation is now under control." The SP said the police have howerver seized petrol bombs from some people.

Gangadhar said a meeting will soon be convened on whether to allow the Hanuman Jayanti celebration and procession scheduled to be held on Friday.

Violence erupted on Wednesday evening when stones were allegedly thrown at the bike rally taken out out to celebrate the Hanuman Jayanti. Every year a bike rally and a ritual ‘Jhanda Sthapana’ are organised prior to Hanuman Jayanti in the city. During the violence some shops and several two-wheelers were set on fire while a number of cars were damaged.

Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated in Odisha on Maha Visuba Sankranti which falls on Friday this year.

A majority of places in the city wore deserted look as most of the shops remained closed.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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