BJP leaders on Wednesday staged a sit-in after they were not allowed to meet “victims’ families” in Kawardha town of Chhattisgarh where curfew is in force following communal violence. Police officials said the situation was now normal.
Violence broke out at Kawardha, the headquarters of Kabirdham district, on Tuesday during a procession taken out by right-wing outfits. So far 66 people have been arrested, police said. A delegation of BJP MLAs led by Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Dharamlal Kaushik reached Kawardha on Wednesday afternoon. The district administration stopped them from meeting affected families, they said.
Internet services have been suspended in the town.. What is happening here, nobody knows. It is `dadagiri’ (bullying) by the administration….We have come just to meet those who were thrashed, but we are not being allowed, therefore we have sat on dharna (sit-in), Kaushik told reporters. He was accompanied by MLAs Brijmohan Agrawal, Narayan Chandel and Krishnamurti Bandhi, and MP Santosh Pandey.
Our silence should not be considered as our weakness. Some people who are in power are trying to gain political mileage by disturbing the peaceful atmosphere. The people of the state will definitely give a reply to them,” said Pandey, MP from Rajnandgaon under which Kawardha falls. Pandey had attended the rally organized by right-wing activists on Tuesday before it turned violent.
The BJP also shared a letter of Kabirdham district collector denying them permission to meet affected families. Since section 144 of the CrPC is in force in Kawardha municipality…. Presently law and order situation is prevailing in Kawardha. In such a situation, your request to meet the concerned families is rejected to maintain peace and public security in the area, it said.
Talking to PTI, Kabirdham Collector Ramesh Sharma said the situation was completely peaceful on Wednesday. We allowed BJP’s public representatives to go to the circuit house and meet their party’s local officer-bearers. They also met with district officials who informed BJP leaders about the entire incident,” the collector said. The BJP leaders wanted to meet some people but were not allowed from the security point of view, he added.
The trouble started on October 3 after people from two communities clashed over the removal of religious flags from Lohara Chowk. To protest the incident, right-wing outfits took out a rally on Tuesday. So far 66 people have been arrested in connection with Tuesday’s violence while 15 were apprehended following Sunday’s incident. More than half a dozen FIRs have been registered,” said Kabirdham Superintendent of Police Mohit Garg. No relaxation has been given in the curfew so far, he added.