- Dhanashri Warghade
Violence erupted in Kawardha during a rally; section 144 imposed
Violence had broken out in Kawardha city of Kabirdham district in Chhattisgarh on October 5 during a rally. The clash broke out between two communities over removal of religious flags from a thoroughfare in the city. At least 12 policemen were injured in the clashes. However, no locals were hurt during the violence. Administration authorities immediately imposed Section 144 CrPC after communal riots. Curfew was also imposed in the city at around 11.30 am. Internet services were suspended in Kawardha, Bemetra, and Rajnandgaon districts after it came to notice that many social media posts were spreading hatred and misleading information.
The real problem had started on October 3 on Sunday 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 October 5. Around 3000 people had participated in a protest which was organized by Hindu organizations such as Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). After the clash, the Bharatiya Janta Party leaders wanted to meet some people but the police did not allow them from the security point of view. During this violence, bikes were torched and some houses, as well as shops of other communities, were also ransacked. The police team resorted to baton-charge at some places to control the mob. A stone-pelting incident was also reported in the area. Several members of Hindu organizations blocked Kawardha- Jabalpur National highway. Several people were arrested by the police.
Later, the situation was brought under control. The district administration had announced a relaxation of curfew for 4 hours on October 9 from 10 am to 2 pm. The administration had allowed the opening market and all the shops. Whereas hawkers, milk sellers, home delivery services were exempted from 7 am to 10 am. Helpline number was also issued for public to seek help in case of emergency situation. Around 70 people were identified and 59 were arrested for spreading nuisance and sabotage in Kawardha.