Chhattisgarh: Government transferred Balodabazar District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police after violence

The Uncut

Raipur. The state government transferred the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police after violence broke out during the agitation of Satnami Samaj on Monday in protest against the damage to the religious pillar in Balodabazar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh. The General Administration Department and Home Department of the state issued the transfer order late on Tuesday night. According to the order, Balodabazar-Bhatapara District Magistrate KL Chauhan has been transferred to the Ministry (Secretariat) on the post of Special Secretary (without any department).

The state government has appointed Registrar of Cooperative Societies Deepak Soni as the new District Magistrate of Balodabazar-Bhatapara district. Soni also has the additional charge of MNREGA Commissioner. Apart from this, the state government has transferred 2010 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and Superintendent of Police of Balodabazar-Bhatapara district Sadanand Kumar to the post of Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at Police Headquarters Raipur.

The state government has appointed Surguja district’s Superintendent of Police Vijay Aggarwal as the Superintendent of Police of Balodabazar-Bhatapara district in place of Kumar. Along with this, Yogesh Patel, Commandant of the 4th Battalion of Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) in Mana Raipur, has been transferred to the post of Superintendent of Police of Surguja district.

On Monday, during a protest called by the Satnami community against the alleged demolition of a religious structure, a mob set ablaze a government office and over 150 vehicles, including two-wheelers and four-wheelers, in Balodabazar town.
On the night of 15 and 16 May, near the Amar Cave at Girodpuri Dham in Balodabazar-Bhatapara district, unknown persons damaged the ‘Jaitakham’ or ‘Vijay Stambh’, a symbol worshipped by the Satnami community.

Police later arrested three people in connection with the incident. In protest against the incident, the community had called for a demonstration at Dussehra Maidan Balodabazar on Monday and gherao of the District Magistrate’s office. Due to arson and stone pelting during the protest, the district administration imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, under which the gathering of four or more people was prohibited in Balodabazar town till June 16.

Balodabazar-Bhatapara Superintendent of Police Sadanand Kumar had said on Tuesday that seven FIRs were registered in connection with the arson incident and 12 police teams were formed to trace those involved in the incident. State Food Minister Dayaldas Baghel and Revenue Minister Tank Ram Verma on Tuesday accused Congress leaders of inciting the crowd during the protest.

Baghel said, “Congress leaders directly or indirectly encouraged arson and looting. This incident is the result of a well-planned conspiracy by the Congress. The composite building (which houses the offices of the District Collector, Superintendent of Police and others) was burnt and three fire engines were also set on fire. About 40 policemen were injured in this incident. Common people were chased on the streets and beaten up.” He claimed that lakhs of rupees were looted from people who came to register their property with the Balodabazar registry officer.

The minister said that so far more than two hundred arsonists have been arrested in connection with the incident. Reacting to the allegations, the Congress claimed that the minister was trying to hide his government’s failure. Chief Minister Vishnu Dev Sai met members of the Satnami community at his official residence late Tuesday evening and discussed the incident.

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