Internet services were restored in Ranchi on Sunday morning as the Jharkhand capital showed signs of limping back to normality.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC restricting gathering of five or more persons was also lifted from half of the areas it was imposed initially after Friday’s violence.
“Internet service that had to be suspended since 7pm on Friday evening following disturbances was resumed at 4am this morning,” Ranchi deputy commissioner (DC) Chhavi Ranjan informed the media while addressing a press conference, jointly with senior superintendent of police (SSP) Surendra Kumar Jha, at the district collectorate on Sunday.
“Prohibitory orders under section 144 that was imposed in 12 police station areas of the city will now continue in only six,” the DC said, identifying those as Kotwali, Lower Bazar, Daily Market, Hindpiri, Chutia and Doranda police stations.
The restrictions were imposed after a group of people who were protesting against the derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed by two now-axed BJP spokespersons turned unruly and started pelting stones at police and media persons near a temple on Main Road on Friday afternoon. Many took shelter in the temple to save themselves as the mob continued pelting stones and also damaged a number of vehicles parked nearby.
Police first resorted to lathi charge and subsequently opened fire to disperse the mob. Two young men died of bullet injuries at hospital later that evening.
“Altogether 25 FIRs have been lodged against 22 named and hundreds of unknown persons,” SSP Jha informed the media, adding special investigation teams were also formed for probing the incident.
All types of evidences including posts on social media platforms were being investigated for identifying persons who tried to distort the social fabric by spreading hatred, he added.
“Anyone found guilty will not be spared while no innocent person will be harassed,” the SSP assured, adding static forces were deployed at 38 different locations while mobile police teams were monitoring the situation across the city. The police also staged a flag march on Main Road earlier in the day.
Some organisations gave a bandh call in protest and a total bandh was observed in Ranchi on Saturday when the city wore a deserted look.
Though aimed at restricting spread of rumours, suspension of internet service also caused genuine problems to many. “We understand the administration did it for a specific purpose but many of us who work for web-based news channels were handicapped as we couldn’t dispatch reports,” said a reporter working for such a channel while a photographer pointed out they could not transmit photos instantly from locations.
Air passengers, who had confirmed tickets for Sunday, also breathed a sigh of relief as they could do web check-in well in advance. “It’s good that internet service ultimately resumed this morning and many people like me can now do a hassle-free web check-in before going to airport,” said Jishnu Chandra, a Mumbai-bound air passenger.