Satnami Protest Balodabazar-Bhatapara Transferred District Collector Superintendent

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The Chhattisgarh government has transferred the collector and superintendent of police of the Balodabazar-Bhatapara district following large-scale arson at the district headquarters during a protest by the Satnami community on Monday. The protest was called to protest against vandalism directed at the ‘jaitkham’, a pillar of religious significance to the community, in May.  

According to a PTI report, the transfer orders were issued by the state’s general administration and home departments on Tuesday night.

Balodabazar-Bhatapara Collector K.L. Chauhan has been moved to Mantralaya (secretariat) as special secretary (without any portfolio), according to the General Administration Department’s order. He will be replaced by Cooperative Societies registrar Deepak Soni, who also holds charge as MNREGA commissioner. 

SP Sadanand Kumar, a 2010-batch IPS officer, has been transferred to the police headquarters as Deputy Inspector General of Police, the Home Department’s order said. He will be replaced by Surguja SP Vijay Agrawal. The latter, meanwhile, will be replaced by Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) 4th battalion Commandant Yogesh Patel, a 2018-batch IPS officer. 

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The protest on Monday came nearly a month after unidentified individuals vandalised the ‘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 May 15 and May 16, PTI reported. 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. A large number of Satnami community members gathered for the protest.

At the protest on Monday, several cars, motorcycles and a government building were torched. As the protest escalated, the district administration imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, prohibiting the assembly of four or more people in Balodabazar city till June 16.

Chhattisgarh CM Vishnu Deo Sai met members of the Satnami community at his official residence late evening on Tuesday and discussed the incident, officials earlier said.

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

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

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