BHUBANESWAR: A day after communal flare-up in Soro, Rourkela and Pattamundai, normalcy was yet to return to the three towns as sporadic disturbances were reported despite prohibitory orders on Tuesday. While miscreants set fire to shops in Soro under curfew, people staged road blockade near SP office flouting Section 144 in Rourkela and ‘Kalash Yatra’ was thwarted with prohibitory orders in Pattamundai. However, Eid celebration passed off peacefully in the three places with no untoward incident during the day.
Even as curfew was reimposed in strife-torn Soro town of Balasore district, the shops were set ablaze a few hours after peace committee meeting in the evening. Nobody was injured in the incident which took place on the outskirts of the town. The fire brigade personnel rushed to the spot and doused the fire in time to prevent it from spreading to nearby shops. The police suspected that it might be a fallout of previous enmity.
The curfew, which was imposed from 6 pm Monday to 6 am Tuesday, was extended during the day in view of the possible gathering by Muslim community in groups to celebrate Eid. As part of the celebration, the community members take out zulus (religious procession) around the town.
“Situation has not yet normalised. Tension still persists in the two communities. There are anti-social elements who want to flare up it further and use this opportunity to take revenge on their rivals. That’s why movement of people has been completely restricted during night,” said a police official.
The district administration, however, relaxed the curfew for a few hours during the day which allowed the minority people to organise mass prayers and traders to open their business establishments. But no religious procession was allowed. Meanwhile, a peace committee meeting was organised to restore peace in the area and it was decided to immerse all left out Ganesh idols by Wednesday noon. Representatives from both the communities participated in the meeting.
Collector Pramod Kumar Das said the prohibitory orders will be relaxed from 9 am to 11 am on Wednesday to allow immersion of Ganesh idols without procession. “Six idols are to be immersed. We have planned to immerse all the idols during the non-curfew hours. People also have agreed to the proposal,” he said. The armed police forces will continue to be deployed in the town till the normalcy is restored. Altogether 19 platoons of armed police forced have been deployed. So far, 15 persons from both groups have been arrested.
The sleepy town, which has a sizeable population of Muslims, witnessed communal tension following a group clash between two communities on September 9 night over immersion of Ganesh idols.