Chhattisgarh : Collectorate Office, 100+ Vehicles Torched Over Sacred Site issue

Baloda Bazar, Chhattisgarh— The city witnessed intense protests by the Satnami community following the desecration of their sacred sites. On June 10, 2024, thousands of community members took to the streets, demanding severe punishment for those responsible for the vandalism of the Amar Gufa and the destruction of the Jaitkham, their revered flag.

The Protest:

On June 10, more than 5000 of Satnami community members gathered at the Dussehra ground for a heated demonstration. Their demands included the death penalty for the vandals, reflecting the intensity of their anger and the depth of their religious hurt. The protesters then marched towards the Collector's office, rapidly escalating the situation.

Over 5000 Satnami Community protestors

Picture Courtesy : Instagram

Upon reaching the Collector's office, the protesters clashed with the police. The confrontation turned violent, with demonstrators setting vehicles on fire within the office premises. The police responded with measures to control the situation, leading to a tense standoff between the authorities and the protesters.

According to the officials, The crowd vandalized vehicles parked at the Collectorate and began pelting stones. Amidst this chaos, some individuals set the Collectorate building on fire, resulting in many important documents being burned to ashes. Also miscreants set fire to 75 bikes, 20 cars, and 2 fire brigade vehicles.

Angry protestors torch cars and bikes as well as the Secretariat and SP Office

Picture Courtesy : Instagram

Background of the Protest:

The root of the unrest lies in the vandalism that occurred on the night of May 16th &17th, 2024. Anti-social elements desecrated the Jaitkham within the Amar Gufa premices, a site of immense religious significance for the Satnami community. Amar Gufa is closely associated with Baba Guru Ghasidas, the community's spiritual leader, and serves as a spiritual center for Satnami followers.

Following the incident, the local police acted on complaints from the community and registered an FIR, leading to the arrest of three suspects. However, the Satnami community deemed these measures insufficient. They have been vocal about their demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe to ensure a thorough investigation and accountability.

"I met with prominent members of the Satnami community on June 6th. In response to their demand for a judicial inquiry, the Chief Minister assured that an inquiry would be conducted. The community leaders agreed that no further agitation would take place. However, with anti-social elements now involved in the incident, action will be taken against those causing disturbances."

— Vijay Sharma, Deputy Chief Minister

Government and Police Response:

In the aftermath, the local administration and police have been working to restore order and address the community's concerns and the government imposed sec 144 in the region to maintain peace till June 16.

Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai has reviewed the situation. In a post on X, he announced that he had instructed the Raipur Range Inspector General of Police (IG) and the Raipur Divisional Commissioner to visit the site immediately. The Chief Minister has ordered strict action against anyone disrupting social harmony and has appealed to the public to maintain peace and unity.

Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma visited where this incident happened late in the night, urging the Satnami community to maintain peace amid rising tensions and gave order to officials to take action against culprits.

Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma visits the site

Picture Courtesy : Instagram

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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