BERHAMPUR: Personnel of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in Ganjam district which borders communal violence hit Kandhamal district.
Police and administration are extra cautious as the election process for urban bodies has also started. The RAF, Orissa State Armed Police (OSAP) has started conducting flag marches in volatile areas of Berhampur and Ganjam police districts. According to Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Dhananjay Jena these flag marches aim at creating panic in the minds of communal miscreants as well as the miscreants aiming for mischief during the municipal elections.
It may be noted that communal violence had started to spread into Ganjam district from adjoining Kandhamal district. Prayer houses were targeted at Durgaprasad near Bhanjanagar bordering Kandhamal. So, flag marches were taken up at Bhanajangar town and its adjoining areas like Baunsalundi, Sankhasahi etc.
On Thursday evening a flag march by the city police, OSAP and RAF personnel was held in the city. Led by the SDPO Mr. Jena, three platoons of RAF and four platoons of OSAP marched with their automatic weapons in hand through the criss-crosses of streets and main thoroughfares in the city. It may be noted that the month of Ramzan has started and the city has past history of communal tension over cow slaughter and sell of beef. There was also extra watch on the violence prone politically volatile wards of the city. Mr. Jena said it was also an effort to get the OSAP and RAF jawans acquainted with the intricate city roads as they would be used in case of need if any violent activity related to communal tension or municipal elections.
It is also being alleged that criminal gangs of the city have also started to play a major role in the campaign for the municipal elections which has made police force extra cautious.
It may be noted that after the withdrawal of candidatures 146 candidates are contesting in 37 wards of the Berhampur municipality. The Congress has fielded 27 candidates, the BJD has 26, the BJP has 10 candidates and the rest are independents. Rajani Moharana has uncontested in the ward number 23.