Social Media Posts Trigger Communal Clashes In Odisha's Bhadrak Town

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:36 IST

As a precautionary step, the Home Department has restricted access to social media Bhadrak and nearby areas for 48 hours to prevent spread of rumours.

Social Media Posts Trigger Communal Clashes In Odisha's Bhadrak Town
A scene after a communal tension broke out in Bhadrak, Odisha on Friday. PTI

Social media posts triggered communal clashes in Odisha’s Bhadrak town with the Rapid Action Force and the CRPF holding a flag march to keep the situation under control.

Violence had erupted in Bhadrak on Thursday after a group staged a demonstration near the Town police station demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the offensive social posting.

Though the district administration clamped prohibitory orders, tension persisted and fresh violence erupted on Friday despite a peace meeting called by the administration to restore normalcy.

The escalation in tension prompted the administration to impose curfew on Friday, while security men had held a flag march in the town on Sunday to dispel fears. The curfew was relaxed for four hours on Sunday.

As a precautionary measure, the state Home Department restricted access to social media in the town and nearby areas for 48 hours from Sunday to prevent spread of rumours, a senior official said.

State Chief Secretary AP Padhi, who has directed the police's Crime Branch to look into rumours circulated through social media, said no accused would be allowed to instigate people and escalate tension.

The cyber police cell is seeking information from people to track those involved in the post spreading hate messages on social media and strict action would be taken against them, Special Director General of Police (Crime) BK Sharma said.

Padhi said the situation in Bhadrak was under control and no untoward incident has been reported from the town since Saturday.

The curfew that was imposed on Friday was relaxed initially from 8 AM to 11 AM on Sunday and later extended till 12 noon to allow people to procure essential commodities, even as security forces kept a close vigil, he said.

"People queued up at shops to purchase essential items following improvement in overall situation in the town," the police said, adding the curfew would continue for some more time after the brief relaxation.

State Home Secretary Asit Tripathy, who is camping in the town along with senior officials including Director General of Police, KB Singh, said peace is returning to the area.