Bhadrak a district in the northern Odisha is burning since Ram Navami and as is usual with the mainstream Indian media, riots in which the majority community is targeted and is at the receiving end is not considered a riot and is never given a slot in the news.
The riot started because of a vulgar Facebook post on Lord Ram, Goddess Sita, and Lord Hanuman by a person called Asif Ali khan. The post contained many derogatory and defamatory remarks on Hindu Gods. This led to protest by the Hindus who encircled the Town police station demanding the arrest of the person involved but when a pseudo-secular party is in power the administration tries to brush under the carpet the entire incident and hence in this case too, no action was taken against the accused. After continuous protests for more than 2 days, police reluctantly took the accused into custody (not arrested). In the meantime, riots erupted in the city as protesting people were attacked in places. As per the latest reports, the section-144 has been declared in the district but still, sporadic violence continues to erupt.
The state government has been highly negligent of the law and order situation which has led to the creation of such tragic situations.
Riots are not new to Bhadrak and it has already faced many communal riots the deadliest one being the 1991 riots. The police always refrains from going into the area dominated by the minority community and this time too it did the same which led to much delay in taking the accused into custody.
Much damage had already taken place in the city with reports from locals about the desecration of Local Hanuman Temple and burning of several shops belonging to the majority community.
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Broken Hanuman temple at Santia chowk-Bhadrak,Odisha
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For days, the district administration did nothing except forming peace committees. Today after the situation seemed to slip out of hands, state government intervened by changing the collector and sending more police to the district, still, no concrete action has been taken place by the state administration.
The reaction of State government is not new and it has always played the role of the audience in case of riots and never intervened in the time. This makes us recall the Kandhamal riots after which BJD snapped its ties with BJP blaming it, whereas, in reality, it allowed Swami Laxmananda Saraswati to die. After repeated threats and attacks by Christian missionaries and Maoists, almost no security (two unarmed guards) was provided to Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. As Mark Twain once said, “history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme” the situation in Bhadrak is also moving in the same direction as of Kandhamal.
It’s high time for the people of Odisha to realize the vote bank politics of BJD. The CM much like the CM of the neighbouring state of West Bengal in order to portray himself as secular is ready to sacrifice the Hindus and is continuously doing so hiding behind the veil of secularism.