Bhadrak calm gives space to party leaders to indulge in blame game

Bhubaneswar: As violence-hit Bhadrak limped back to normalcy on Tuesday and, educational institutions and other establishments opened for the day, various angles on what might have led to such a situation came up from various quarters.

Though it is yet to be ascertained whether the district administration ‘failed’ to tackle the situation, the statement of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s Bhadrak MP Arjun Charan Sethi fuelled a controversy on the role of the police in the issue.

Holding police administration responsible for the unrest, Sethi on Monday said the motorcycle rally taken out by members of the minority community making objectionable remarks added fuel to the already charged atmosphere. He alleged that the rally led by local MLA’s son, soon after peace committee talks failed, had provoked the simmering tension that led to the communal flare-up in the region again.

“No step was taken to control the crowd in the rally. Instead of dispersing the crowd, the police became mute spectators. Since the Superintendent of Police (SP) is the overall in-charge of the district, he should be made responsible for this,” Sethi stated.

He also alleged that had action been taken in time, the situation would not have gone out of control.

Bhadrak SP Dillip Das has however rejected the allegations.

“All efforts were made and preventive steps taken to control the situation. Infact we had arranged the peace committee meeting to bring normalcy to the situation. I don’t think there is any negligence from the police in this case,” said Das.

On the other hand, rubbishing the allegations Asit Patnaik, the son of Bhadrak legislator Jugal Kishore Patnayak stated that he had not led the rally on that fateful day, rather tried to pacify the situation.

“I was with minister Bijoyshree Routroy in Bhubaneswar on that day. After hearing the news, I discussed the matter with the minister and through him spoke to all the officials concerned to control the riot,” Asit told OTV.

However, Odisha Excise minister Damodar Rout criticised the remark of the parliamentarian saying, rather than accusing, he should appeal for calm.

“Instead of accusing somebody, he should appeal for peace in the region first,” Rout noted.