Curfew imposed in Sambalpur Odisha due to Hindu-Muslim clash, 10 police personnel injured

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Curfew was imposed in the western Odisha town of Sambalpur which was simmering over communal tension following clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the run up to Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

“The imposition of curfew is for indefinite period till situation returns normalcy,” said Brijesh Ray, Deputy Inspector General of Police (north-central range) over phone on April 15.

The curfew will remain in force in areas coming under six police station limits in Sambalpur. Medical services have been kept out of the purview of curfew. People have been asked not to come out of their homes. The district administration has given two-hour window each in the morning and afternoon for sourcing essential commodities.

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The Hanuman Jayanti celebration took place in Sambalpur town amidst heavy security arrangements. As many as 42 platoons of police personnel were deployed under the active guidance of 100 officers. The processions and display of traditional martial art passed off without report of any major violence.

However, one person, identified as Chintamani Mirdha, was stabbed to death while his friend Biswanath Sikka sustained severe injuries in the stabbing, about 3 km from the place of congregation. There were attacks on another two persons during late evening. At least 12 shops were set on fire.

The violence was triggered when a massive bike rally was pelted with stones while it was passing through a Muslim-dominated colony on April 12 evening. As many as 10 police personnel received injuries in the attack.

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Subsequently, Hanuman Jayanti Samonyoya Samiti (HJSS) called for a 36-hour bandh in Sambalpur. The Bharatiya Janata Party also backed the bandh call. A delegation of BJP MLAs also camped in Sambalpur to take stock of the situation. Over 30 persons have been arrested in connection with communal violence.

Sambalpur

Sambalpur is the fifth largest city in the Indian State of Odisha. It is located on the banks of river Mahanadi, with a population of 335,761. Prehistoric settlements have been recorded there. It is the home of the Sambalpuri Saree.

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