High-level BJP team detained while entering violence-hit Sambalpur town in Odisha

Peace committees to hold assemblies in areas affected by communal violence 

Published - April 18, 2023 06:25 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

A high-level BJP delegation comprising Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Bisheswar Tudu, State BJP president Manmohan Samal, MPs Jual Oram and Suresh Pujari, and others were detained by The Sambalpur district police in Odisha on April 18, 2023. The delegation was on its way to review the situation arising out of communal violence in Sambalpur town. Photo: Twitter/@BJP4Odisha

A high-level BJP delegation comprising Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Bisheswar Tudu, State BJP president Manmohan Samal, MPs Jual Oram and Suresh Pujari, and others were detained by The Sambalpur district police in Odisha on April 18, 2023. The delegation was on its way to review the situation arising out of communal violence in Sambalpur town. Photo: Twitter/@BJP4Odisha

The Sambalpur district police in Odisha on Tuesday detained a high-level Bharatiya Janata Party delegation comprising Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Bisheswar Tudu, State BJP president Manmohan Samal and MPs Jual Oram and Suresh Pujari.

The BJP delegation was on its way to review the situation arising out of communal violence in Sambalpur town where suspension of Internet services was extended for another 24 hours.

The high-level BJP delegation was coming from the Jharsuguda district side and stopped at the entry point of Sambalpur. They were taken to Thelkuli Police Station. The detainment came at a time when a peace committee meeting was convened by the Sambalpur district police to restore normalcy in the western Odisha town.

“The Sambalpur district police had no clue as to why they were detaining us. The police were just carrying out orders coming from the Chief Minister’s Office. The law does not take its own course while it is guided by Biju Janata Dal’s instructions. We were going to Sambalpur to meet the family of a person who was killed in the communal violence. The detainment is a murder of democracy,” charged Kusum Tete, a BJP MLA.

“When the BJP took it upon itself to help bring down tempers, we were detained”Nauri Nayak BJP MLA

Shankar Oram, another BJP MLA, said, “There was no violation of curfew as the BJP delegation was traveling when the curfew was relaxed. We were forcibly brought to the police station.”

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had all the time to visit Japan and other places whereas he did not have time to visit Sambalpur and instruct officials to restore normalcy at the earliest. When the BJP took it upon itself to help bring down tempers, we were detained,” said Nauri Nayak, a BJP MLA.

Meanwhile, a meeting of peace committee was convened in the presence of District Collector Ananya Das, Superintendent of Police B. Gangadhar and other senior district police officers. The peace committee members urged people to stay calm and work for communal unity. Representatives from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities decided to hold peace assemblies in areas hit by violence.

The violence started when stones were showered on a bike rally taken out, in the run up to the Hanuman Jayanti celebration. The incident took place when the rally was passing through Muslim-dominated colonies on April 12 evening. As many as 10 police personnel received injuries in the attack. Subsequently, Hanuman Jayanti Samonyoya Samiti (HJSS) called for a 36-hour bandh in Sambalpur. A man was stabbed to death while dozens of shops belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities were set on fire. The Hanuman Jayanti celebration was held on April 14. However, the Sambalpur town continued to simmer in communal tension.

The BJP team would have met Damodar Kar, working president of HJSS, who has since been in hospital after sustaining injuries on April 12 violence.  As many as 85 persons have been arrested in connection with the violence.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.