Communal Tensions Grip Odisha’s Balasore: Allegations of Cow Slaughter and Water Turning ‘Red’ Spark Curfew

TCN News

New Delhi: Tensions escalated late night on June 17 at Balasore town in Odisha, leading to the imposition of a curfew following a clash between two communities earlier in the day. The conflict erupted amid allegations of cow slaughter and reports of water bodies turning red, believed by some to be linked to the alleged slaughter.

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Initial investigations indicate the incident occurred in a sensitive area of northern Odisha following allegations that water in a local train turned red, suspected by some to be animal blood from the purported cow slaughter.

The situation escalated into stone pelting and required lathi charges to restore order. Official sources noted injuries to several police personnel and civilians, along with damage to vehicles during the unrest.

Local authorities initially enforced prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in specific areas to manage the situation. However, as a preventive measure against further escalation, the curfew was extended to encompass the entire town.

Balasore Collector Ashish Thakare justified the curfew extension, stating, “Despite no new incidents of violence since the imposition of prohibitory orders, we chose to implement a town-wide curfew as a precaution.”

Alongside these measures, the state government directed the suspension of internet services in Balasore and nearby areas. Sanjay Kumar, overseeing law and order as the additional director general of police stationed in Balasore, confirmed the arrest of 34 individuals from both communities, with more arrests anticipated.

He informed The Indian Express that Balasore has been fortified with 43 platoons of police, and an additional 15 platoons are being deployed. Four IPS officers and senior police officials from headquarters are also dispatched to monitor developments closely. Efforts are underway to minimize inconvenience to residents, with exemptions for essential services and ambulance operations from curfew restrictions.

In response to the crisis, Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi held discussions with the Balasore collector, urging swift resolution and emphasizing Odisha’s commitment to maintaining public order under all circumstances.