With a history of communal flare up, Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi preferred not to take any chance and sought deployment of four companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF), specialized in such situation for deployment in Bhadrak thatwitnessed violence and arson.
“Though the State Police have been deployed to control the situation, we need reinforcement of specialized forces for tackling communal violence,” Mr.Padhi said in a letter to Rajiv Mehrishi, Union Home Secretary.
At least two companies RPF have so far reached Bhadrak by evening. The State Government has already deployed about 1100 force in Bhadrak besides imposing prohibitory order under section 144 of CrPC in Dhamnagar and Basudevpur.
In the meantime Crime Branch of Odisha Police has started investigation into the move which led to communal violence after registering a case in Cyber Police Station. Special DGP Crime B K Sharma has formed a SIT to go for detailed investigation, said sources.
Rumor Mongers engaged in generating hatred among the people will be arrested and dealt sternly, said a senior Top Cop in Crime Branch.
Besides Principal Secretary Home Asit Tripathy and DGP K B Singh, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central Division) AB Ota and ADG Binayananda Jha have been camping in Bhadrak to monitor and supervise operations to restore peace and normalcy in the town. The DGP said that the situation was now under control.
Leaders of political parties including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra appealed to the people to maintain peace.
36 people have been forwarded to court in connection with the violent incidents which left several shops gutted and vehicles damaged.
The new District Collector Gyanranjan Das has since taken over charge as directed by the State State Government on 7 April evening.
Violence had erupted in Bhadrak on Thursday after a group staged demonstration near the town police station demanding immediate arrest of those involved in posting offensive remarks against Hindu deities on social media.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, who was scheduled to attend a function in Bhadrak today, cancelled his visit and slammed the state government for unrest in the town.
As curfew remains in force, residents of several areas of Bhadrak said they were facing problem in procuring essential commodities including food items.