Curfew In Odisha's Bhadrak After Protests Over 'Offensive' Facebook Posts

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Curfew In Odisha's Bhadrak After Protests Over 'Offensive' Facebook Posts

The protesters burnt tyres, vandalised shops, clashed with police and threw stones in Odisha's Bhadrak.

Bhadrak, Odisha:  Schools, colleges and markets are closed in Odisha's Bhadrak area today after a curfew was imposed last evening following clashes between two communities. The situation is under control, the police said. The curfew is likely to be lifted by 8 am on Sunday.

Restrictions were put in place as fresh violence erupted in some areas of Bhadrak, about 130 km from Bhubaneshwar, after talks failed to resolve the row triggered by comments on Facebook against Lord Ram and Sita on Ram Navmi. 35 people have been detained so far.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is on a five-day tour to Delhi, tweeted, "I sincerely appeal to all in Bhadrak for peace and harmony; have directed stringent action against any attempt to disrupt peace."

Trouble started last night over alleged abusive remarks posted on social media against Hindu deities. Members of the Bajarang Dal, VHP and Sri Ramnavami Committee staged demonstration outside the Bhadrak Town police station and took to the streets burning tyres and vandalising shops. They clashed with police personnel and threw stones. Senior police officer Sudhakar Jena was injured and a police vehicle was damaged in the incident, police said.

The police had to resort to lathicharge to control the situation as attempts were made to violate a ban on large gatherings. Roads were blocked near High school, Town hall, Bonth and Akhandalamani Chhak.

The demonstrators also filed a complaint and demanded immediate arrest of those accused of posting objectionable remarks. The President of Bhadrak Muslim Jamaat Abdul Bari also condemned the comments about Lord Ram.

The Odisha police chief and Home Secretary are in Bhadrak to take stock of the situation and have appealed to all to maintain peace in the city.

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