BHUBANESWAR: Hours after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s visit to the riot-affected Bhadrak, the State Government on Wednesday shunted out District SP Dilip Das as well as Additional District Magistrate Pravat Bhoi.
Das, who not so ago received President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, has been asked to report to the State Police Headquarters. Jajpur SP Anup Sahu has been posted as the new SP of Bhadrak.
Bhoi, on the other hand, will report to the general Administration Department. Sub-Collector of Talcher Shyamabhakta Mishra has been promoted and posted as ADM of Bhadrak.
The knee-jerk reaction from the Government was on the expected lines to tackle the growing criticism of local administration after the communal flare-up got out of control last week. While Opposition political parties had been blaming the police and district administration, Bhadrak MP Arjun Sethi had joined the chorus on Tuesday and slammed them for their inept handling of the situation. The fact that a rally in the district headquarters town was allowed even when the peace committee meeting was underway proved costly for the two officers.
Earlier in the day, the CM visited Bhadrak town and directed the district administration to submit the damage assessment report within three days. A package for people who have lost their livelihood will be announced soon, he informed.
Naveen also talked tough against those behind the communal flare-up and said that stringent action would be taken as per law.
The Chief Minister started his tour from Nehru Stadium as his convoy passed through Ekta Market, Chandan Bazar, Puruna Bazar, Rahapati before reaching the Collectorate where he met the district officials. He spent about an hour and 20 minutes in the town.
While he inspected the damage at each of these points, at Kacheri Bazar Market, Naveen interacted with the locals and heard their stories. He said vending zones would be set up to rehabilitate the traders who lost their shops in the arson. The Chief Minister also appealed the people to maintain communal harmony and peace in the area.
After taking stock of the measures undertaken to restore peace and normalcy at the Collectorate, the Chief Minister told media persons that stringent action would be initiated against persons responsible for the communal flare-up in the district.
In Chandan Bazar, womenfolk of Marwari community also staged a road blockade after the CM’s convoy passed through the locality. They were protesting the fact that Naveen did not stop in the area.
Normalcy has returned to Bhadrak as offices, commercial establishments and educational institutes functioned on Wednesday. However, security forces continue to keep a close watch and curfew was reimposed from 4 pm till 7 am on Thursday.
The district headquarters town had plunged into utter chaos last week after objectionable posts on social media on Lord Ram and other Hindu deities triggered a wave of arson and disturbances in and around the town.