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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The road blockage at Umerkote in Nabarangpur that continued for more than 24 hours was cleared on Saturday night after the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the unruly crowd.

The Nabarangpur district administration also clamped section 144 in the area for the next 48 hours to ward off any untoward situation as tension prevailed in the locality following the lathi charge.

As per reports, the villagers of Ekataguda near Umerkote town staged a road blockade on Jeypore-Raighar State Highway on Friday evening protesting burial of a girl's body near the village along the Highway.

The girl reportedly hailed from Dangarisahi under Ward no-8 in Umerkote Municipality and was dead due to unknown reasons. However, tension spurred after the family could not find a place for cremation of the body as there is a dispute over the local burial place.

The body was finally buried near Ektaguda by the help of the Umerkote Tehsildar, following which the villagers protested and blocked the road disrupting communication on the Jeypore-Raighara State Highway for more than 24 hours.

Though the local administration including the Additional Collector, SDPO and MLA Nityananada Gond tried to pacify the crowd by discussing and assuring to resolve the crematorium issue as soon as possible, the protesters did not budge from the road demanding to shift the body to another place.

Thousands of passengers and truckers stuck on the road for over 24 hours could only take a sigh of relief after the police dispersed the crowd through lathi charge on Saturday night.

Nabarangpur Additional Collector, Bhaskar Raita said, "The crowd has been dispersed after a mild lathi charge. I hope the locals will obey the prohibitory orders for next 48 hours. I assure them that the crematorium issue will be resolved through talks as soon as possible."

Additional SP, Jayakrushna Behera said, "The protesters have fled the place and normalcy has been restored now. We have announced clamping of section 144 in the area through mic."

The police have reportedly conducted a flag march as an area domination exercise.

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