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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Internet services were suspended in Keonjhar district on Tuesday to check the spread of rumours and maintain peace following a group clash over Ram Navami procession in the mining town of Joda.

On Monday, several persons were injured in the clash following which the district administration clamped section 144 in the area to prevent any untoward incident. 

Eight platoons of police force have been deployed in the area to control the law and order situation.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 has been extended for another 24 hours in the area. The restrictions will remain in force till 10 AM on Wednesday.

Keonjhar SP, Champua Sub-Collector, Barbil SDPO and Tehsildar visited the area following the incident to take stock of the situation. They also held a meeting with both the groups in a bid to pacify them.

 The situation in the area is reportedly returning to normalcy and the administration has kept a tight vigil on the development.

 As per reports, a religious group that conducted an Akhada procession on the occasion of Ram Navami, sought permission to carry religious flags (Jhanda) to a Hanuman temple in ward no 4 of the town. The permission was denied by the police.

However, tensions flared up after the police permitted only five persons to carry the flags to the said temple. Agitated locals of that religious group demonstrated by staging a sit-in in front of the temple. 

Later, when they began to move to the Hanuman temple carrying flags, some locals from another group reportedly stopped them from entering the area, flaring up tension between the two groups. Subsequently, both the groups resorted to stone pelting and throwing glass bottles, injuring many in the process. 
 

(Edited by Pradeep Singh)

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