Chhattisgarh: Collector, SP transferred following Balodabazar violence

More than 150 vehicles were damaged in Balodabazar city during a protest against the alleged vandalisation of a religious structure

Representational image (photo: NH Archives)
Representational image (photo: NH Archives)


The Chhattisgarh government has transferred the collector and superintendent of police of Balodabazar-Bhatapara following large-scale arson at the district headquarters on Monday, 10 June.

The state's general administration and home departments issued the transfer orders on Tuesday night.

Balodabazar-Bhatapara Collector KL Chauhan has been shifted to Mantralaya (secretariat) as special secretary (without any portfolio), as per the General Administration Department's order.

Cooperative Societies registrar Deepak Soni, who was also having additional charge of commissioner MNREGA, will replace Chauhan as the new Balodabazar-Bhatapara collector.

Balodabazar-Bhatapara SP Sadanand Kumar, a 2010-batch IPS officer, has been transferred to the police headquarters as Deputy Inspector General of Police, as per the state home department's order.

Surguja SP Vijay Agrawal has been appointed in place of Kumar in Balodabazar-Bhatapara.

Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) 4th battalion Commandant Yogesh Patel, an IPS officer from the 2018 batch, will replace Agrawal in Surguja.

On Monday, a mob set fire to a government office and more than 150 vehicles, including two-wheelers and four-wheelers, in Balodabazar city during a protest called by the Satnami community against the alleged vandalisation of a religious structure last month.

Unidentified persons vandalized 'jaitkham' or 'victory pillar', a sacred symbol worshipped by the Satnami community, near the holy Amar Gufa at Giroudpuri Dham in the Balodabazar-Bhatapara district on the intervening night of 15 and 16 May this year.

Police subsequently arrested three persons in connection with the incident.

To protest against the incident, the community called for a demonstration at Dussehra Maidan Balodabazar on Monday, and also a 'gherao' at the collector's office.

As the protest led to arson and stone-pelting, the district administration imposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting assembly of four or more persons in Balodabazar city till 16 June.

The influential Satnami community, founded by medieval-era social reformer Baba Guru Ghasidas, represents the largest Scheduled Castes group in Chhattisgarh.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai met members of the Satnami community here at his official residence late on Tuesday 11 June 2024 evening and discussed the incident, officials said earlier.

Sadanand Kumar on Tuesday said seven FIRs have been registered in connection with the arson and 12 police teams constituted to trace those involved in the incident.

State Food and Public Distribution Department Minister Dayaldas Baghel and Revenue Minister Tank Ram Verma accused opposition leaders of instigating the crowd during the protest on Tuesday.

The opposition leaders directly or indirectly encouraged the incident of arson and looting. The incident resulted from a well-planned conspiracy of the Congress, Baghel alleged.

The Composite Building (which houses offices of the district collector, superintendent of police and other offices) was burnt and the three fire tenders were also set ablaze by the rioters. Around 40 police personnel were injured, he said.

Common people were chased on the streets and thrashed. Lakhs of rupees were also looted from the people who came to Balodabzar registry officer for registry of the property, he had claimed.

"Such a crime can never be committed by the Satnami community which is known for giving the message of peace and brotherhood. There is a political conspiracy behind this entire incident," he said.

The minister said more than 200 persons have been arrested so far in connection with the arson.

The Congress has claimed the minister levelled baseless allegations against leaders of the opposition to cover up his government's failure and incompetence.

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