23 platoons of forces deployed in Rourkela; situation under control

Rourkela: With tension continuing to prevail in the Steel City on Friday over an inflammatory WhatsApp message leading to mild communal clashes last night, as many as 23 platoons of security forces have been deployed in the city to maintain communal harmony and law and order. Police said, the situation is under control.

However to prevent any untoward situation, Section 144, clamped last night, continues to be in force from Udit Nagar area to Bisra square in the city.

Talking to OTV, Rourkela SP Anirudh Singh said, “23 platoons of CRPF and local police have been deployed in the city. We are closely monitoring the situation. So far, the situation is under control.”

At a peace committee meeting convened this morning, members of all communities unanimously resolved to cooperate in maintaining law and order situation in the city.

After the meeting Sundargarh Collector BS Punia said normalcy in the city has been restored.

“In the peace committee meeting today, all the members have agreed to cooperate with the administration. The situation is normal. During investigation, the facts will come out and the guilty will have to face the law,” Punia stated.

Besides keeping a hawk eye on every single development relating to the incident in the city, the police has registered a case in connection with the case. DGP KB Singh said action will be taken after completion of investigation.

“Rourkela is under control…Last evening, we had clamped Section 144. We have registered cases and action will be taken,” Singh told media.

On Thursday evening, protesters of the minority community gathered in large numbers on the Main Road in Rourkela ahead of the Lord Jagannath’s Bahuda Jatra and disrupted traffic by burning tyres after a boy posted an allegedly objectionable comment on the minority community in a WhatsApp group. Members of the minority community in that WhatsApp group reportedly opposed the post. The 19-year-old youth was allegedly assaulted by members of the minority community. The protesters allowed the Bahuda Yatra to pass only after the youth was detained.

However, later in the evening, members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena came out o,n the streets demanding the release of the detained youth and action against members of the minority community who had assaulted him. VHP leaders said that the youth was assaulted even after the issue over WhatsApp message was sorted out amicably.

Police officials said members of both the communities had gathered at different parts of the city readying for a clash. At around 10.30 pm an unidentified person threw a stone at the police patrol jeep at Daily Market injuring a policeman. Later, section 144 was clamped in the minority-dominated Nala Road area to prevent any further tension.