Raipur: Internet services were suspended in three districts – Kawardha, Rajnandgaon, and Bemetara – following communal clashes erupted in Kawardha. Stone-pelting, damaging of vehicles, and vandalizing properties over the last couple of days by two groups over the issue of installing flags had created a law and order situation, forcing the administration to snap internet services and impose curfew in Kawardha.
The internet services were stopped to prevent the spreading of hatred and misleading information.
In Kawardha district headquarters a large number of people came out on the road carrying sticks and vandalized the vehicles parked outside the houses. Seeing the ruckus, the police resorted to lathi-charge. Even the Kawardha-Jabalpur National Highway was blocked by the disturbing elements after which the administration had imposed curfew in the district on Tuesday.
After the incidents of violence and destruction, a daylong bandh was called by VHP. During the bandh also there was the incidence of violence. The miscreants were on a vandalizing spree and broke the windows of several vehicles and overturned the vehicles forcing the administration to impose a curfew in the Kawardha district. Police suspect that the violence was pre-planned as they have information that people from other districts have also reached the town.
Director-General of police DM Awasthi and other top officials had reached Kawardha. As per the police, FIRs have been registered against many who were indulged in violence and many have been arrested.
IG Vivekanand Sinha said that police are identifying people involved in the violence. Even after Section-144 was imposed in the district, the VHP organized a bandh and a sit-in demonstration. Apart from the district, a group of people arrived from Rajnandgaon, Bemetara, Mungeli, Dhamtari, and Raipur to participate in the demonstration. During the bandh, they created a ruckus and indulged in ransacking.
When contacted, Rajnandgaon SP D Shrawan and Collector Taran Prakash Sinha said that they have received information about the internet suspension. They said that they haven’t received any official instructions regarding the same and are looking into the matter.
A trouble was triggered last Sunday between two groups over hoisting a flag of their community at Lohara Naka Chowk in ward number 27 of Kawardha. The incident escalated which led to eight people being injured in the clash and stone-pelting. Subsequently, a peace committee meeting was also held.
BJP delegation visits
A delegation of BJP, including Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik, former minister Brijmohan Agrawal, MLA Narayan Chandel, and MP Santosh Pandey visited Kawardha on Wednesday to meet the victims.
Before leaving for Kawardha, Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said that no BJP worker had gone to Kawardha from other districts. He said they were going to Kawardha to talk with the families of the victims. Kaushik targeted Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu saying that Kawardha was burning but the chief minister and the Home Minister of the State are tight-lipped. Under such a situation, we should go and assess the situation ourselves. There should be talks to establish peace, law, and order, he said. Leader of Opposition further said that BJP never did politics of opportunity.
Minister Akbar terms incident as unfortunate
Chhattisgarh forest minister Mohammad Akbar has termed the incident as ‘unfortunate. He said that he will visit the district to take stock of the situation and take initiative to ensure maintaining peace and harmony. Regarding the BJP delegation’s visit to the district, Akbar said that they have been permitted to visit.