Section 144 has been imposed in Bhadrak district in the state of Odisha after a protest broke out following a derogatory Facebook post against both Lord Ram and Sita. Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in Odisha’s coastal town of Bhadrak as communal tensions flared over the alleged derogatory comments on the social media platform. During the protest, people took to violence and set shops on fire and also attacked police vehicles a day after prohibitory orders were imposed in the town on Thursday. Meanwhile, fresh violence erupted in some areas last evening after talks failed to resolve the row triggered by alleged abusive remarks on social media. A Lord Hanuman temple was also damaged by rioters in the protest late Friday night.
The alleged derogatory comments were posted on Bajrang Dal activist Ajit Kumar Padhihari’s Facebook wall. Since then tension has been building in the area. Demanding the arrest of three youths for posting the comments, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal activists blocked roads by burning tyres – a police station too was targetted.
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Orders under Section 144 were issued by authorities banning all gatherings following the tension in the town. Meanwhile, the Bhagat Sena Ram Navmi Samiti has lodged a complaint against the three and demanded police to take the action against them. Authorities have ordered the deployment of about 15 platoons of police in the area to ensure peace prevails. The sensitive situation in the area has led to the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, who was scheduled to attend a function in Bhadrak today, to cancel his trip after requests by the local police.