Rashmi Ranjan

The Odisha government on Thursday ordered suspension of internet services in Sambalpur district for 48 hours following the violence during a bike rally to mark Hanuman Jayanti celebrations on Wednesday.

According to a notification issued by the Home Department, the internet services will temporarily remain suspended for the next 48 hours beginning from 10 am on 13 April in the district to prevent further spread of inflammatory and motivated messages.

WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media services of all Mobile Service Providers will also remain suspended during the period.

Besides, mobile internet/data service of all Mobile Service Providers, internet/data services of all Internet Service Providers and Broadband Dial Up systems services will all also remain out of bounds during the next 48 hours.

Notably, at least 10 police personnel including the Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) of Sambalpur and the IIC of Dhanupali Police Station were injured after violence erupted during the Hanuman Jayanti rally in Sambalpur on Wednesday evening.

As per reports, a bike rally was held to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti in the western Odisha town when some miscreants allegedly pelted stones at the rally stoking a clash between two groups.

There were reports of vandalism and arson in the area as well. A shop was set on fire during the clash. Moreover, several vehicles parked on the roadside were vandalised and ransacked with stones and sticks.

Later the administration clamped Section 144 in entire area of Town Police Station, Dhanupali Police Station, Khetrajpur Police Station, Ainthapali Police Station, Bareipali Police Station & Sadar Police Station in Sambalpur.

Earlier in the day, more than 25 people have been detained for their alleged involvement in the violence.

“So far, we have detained 43 persons in connection with the incident. We have collected evidence like photographs and videos etc against 26 persons. We have also seized petrol bombs. We will forward them to court today. We have 30 platoon police forces and we will mobilise 10 platoons more. Police patrolling is going on,” informed Sambalpur SP B Gangadhar. 

When asked about the procession to be held tomorrow on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, he said, “A meeting with the Hanuman Jayanti Coordination Committee and other stakeholders has been convened. Yesterday, they didn’t have control over them. So it is to be seen how they would control the situation and mobilise the crowd. Then taking everything into consideration, we will take a decision.”

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