Curfew was Saturday imposed in Bhadrak town of Odisha as fresh violence erupted in some areas after talks failed to resolve the row triggered by alleged abusive remarks on social media on Lord Rama and Sita. 

“As fresh violence broke out in several areas of the town, the administration imposed curfew in order to bring the situation under control,” Bhadrak Superintendent of Police Dilip Das said. 

After the town witnessed violent incidents in protest against the posting of objectionable comments on social media about Lord Rama and Sita, the administration had called a peace committee meeting on Saturday, in a bid to restore normalcy and maintain communal harmony. 

However, after the peace committee meeting failed to yield any result, a mob clashed with police personnel and pelted stones. Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Sudhakar Jena, was injured and a police vehicle was damaged in the incident, police said. 

One group took out a procession and allegedly raised objectionable remarks that evoked sharp reaction from other sections. Police resorted to lathi-charge and used mild force to control the situation as attempts were made to violate the prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of CrPC. 

Road blockades were put at various places, including the High school, Town hall, Bonth and Akhandalamani Chhak. The state government appointed Gyanaranjan Das, who was the Commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC), as Bhadrak Collector and asked him to take charge immediately. 

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, who was scheduled to attend a function in Bhadrak on Sunday, said he has been informed about the tense situation in the town by the police. 

“Unless the situation improves in Bhadrak, I will not visit the town,” he said. 

Trouble erupted on Friday after alleged abusive comments went viral on social media. Angry people, including youth members from Bajarang Dal, VHP and Sri Ramnavami Committee, staged demonstration before the Bhadrak Town Police Station. 

They also lodged the written complaint with the police and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. 

Meanwhile, president of Bhadrak Muslim Jamaat Abdul Bari in a statement condemned the alleged remarks about Lord Ram and demanded appropriate action against those involved in the episode.