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Satnami community’s protest turns violent in Chhattisgarh

In Chhattisgarh, several cars, motorcycles and a government building were torched after a protest called by the Satnami community to denounce damage to their religious pillar in Balodabazar city turned violent on Monday, prompting authorities to clamp prohibitory orders, officials said.Several police personnel were injured in stone-pelting by protesters, an official said.
The Balodabazar-Bhatapara district administration imposed section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting assembly of four or more people, rallies and processions, in Balodabazar city, he said.
On the intervening night of May 15-16, unidentified persons vandalized a 'jaitkhamb', a structure worshipped by the Satnami community as a sacred symbol, near holy Amar Gufa in Giroudpuri dham in Balodabazar district.The police had arrested three persons for alleged involvement in the desecration, though the Satnami community sought a central agency probe into the matter, the official said.
To protest against the incident, the Satnami community had called for a demonstration at Dussehra Maidan and gherao of the collector's office on Monday.A large number of Satnami community members gathered to attend the protest. Police had put barricades at several places to stop the protesters from heading towards the collectorate."The Satnami community had called for a peaceful demonstration but the protest turned violent. Protesters pelted stones at police personnel and entered the collectorate by breaking barricades. They pelted stones at the office building and torched several vehicles parked there," said Balodabazar Superintendent of Police Sadanand Kumar.Some 5,000 protesters broke through police barricades and pelted stones, leaving several cops injured, he said.They entered the collectorate, set several cars, two-wheelers as well as the building housing the Superintendent of Police office on fire. The agitators also pelted stones at the collector's office and shattered window panes, Kumar said.The fire was doused and the situation brought under control, the SP added.
Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma, who also holds Home portfolio, has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident," the official said.Sharma, in a statement on Monday morning, said incidents that disturb social harmony will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken against the culprits.The influential Satnami community, founded by medieval era social reformer Baba Ghasidas, represents a majority of Scheduled Castes in Chhattisgarh.









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