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Chhattisgarh – Police apprehend key accused in Balodabazar violence case

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Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Police has apprehended a key accused in connection with the Balodabazar violence that rocked the otherwise peaceful town of Balodabazar after an enraged mob set dozens of vehicles and several government offices on fire after their protest turned violent on the afternoon of June 10.

The accused Kishore Navrange who was absconding since June 10 was apprehended by the police from Phallari village on Wednesday, June 19, after the latter received credible intel about his whereabouts.

Navrange is the state president of an outfit namely ‘Bheem Krantiveer’ and reported to be the key accused behind the violence that unfolded on afternoon of June 10. He had been previously associated with Bheem Regiment as well.

Briefing about his arrest, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Balodabazar-Bhatapara, Avinash Singh Thakur said that “we have received an intel about a key accused of the incident, Kishore Navrange following which a team was dispatched to nab him leading to his arrest, he has been sent to judicial remand”.

It is being assumed that the arrest of Navrange who was on the run after the violence could lead to unveiling of the significant faces behind the violence over the Jaitkham (A sacred religious symbol associated with the Satnami community) vandalism incident.

Balodabazar Violence

Notably wide scale violence erupted in district headquarters of Balodabazar-Bhatapara town as an agitated mob of protestors on June 10 set ablaze several government offices in joint collector office premises along dozens of vehicles stationed there by breaching the security installments over vandalism of the ‘Jaitkham’ in Mahkoni village of Giroudpuri.

The agitators were earlier assembled in the Dusshera ground to mark their protest against the vandalism episode in Makhoni where unknown miscreants have attempted to vandalize Jaitkham on the intervieining night of May 15-16.

The protest was part of an ongoing series of demonstration which commenced after the Satnami community while showing disagreement with the initial arrest made by the police into the Jaitkham vandalism incident hit the streets demanding a fair and thorough investigation into the case.

The demonstrators also vandalized vehicles on their way to the collectorate, where they set ablaze around 30 four-wheelers parked in the premises. Dozens of two-wheelers stationed at the premises were also set on fire by the mob who also had a brief collision with the police personnel leaving dozens of them injured in the skirmish.

The incident of arson in the collector’s office prompted immediate action from the state government leading to suspension and release of the then District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police (SP) a day after the violence.

Subsequently a total of 8 FIRs were registered by the police while special teams were formed to further the investigation, after preliminary reports hinted about possible involvements of certain groups who were instrumental behind the escalation of violence.

As of now a total of 137 people have been so far arrested by the police in connection with arson and vandalism incident while an investigation into the case is still underway.

Further the state government on June 13 also constituted a single member judicial inquiry commission to investigate the Jaitkham vandalism incident that occurred near Amar Gufa in Giraudpuri.

The commission headed by retired judge of Bilaspur High Court, CB Vajpayee has been tasked with investigating the vandalism incident on six points including the possible causes leading to the incident and the situation that unfolded aftermath.

Furthermore, the commission will also work on identifying the perpetrators of the vandalism incident that triggered large scale protest from the Satnami community. For the work assigned, the commission has been provided with a time frame of three months to submit its report to the government.

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