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Chhattisgarh: VHP Calls For 'State Bandh' Today In Protest Over Communal Clash

Earlier on Saturday, a man died in Biranpur village of Bemetara district in communal violence. Three police personnel were also injured.

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Two days after a man died in a communal clash in a village in Chhattisgarh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called for a statewide bandh on Monday. 

Earlier on Saturday, a man died in Biranpur village of Bemetara district in communal violence. Three police personnel were also injured. The deceased man was identified as Bhuvneshwar Sahu.

Tensions gripped the region following Sahu's death. Hundreds of police personnel have been deployed in the region and prohibitory orders have been issued. All roads leading to the village have been barricaded by the police. Senior security personnel and district administration officials have been camping in the village since Saturday when the violence erupted.

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What we know of the incident?

The violence in Biranpur, having a population of around 1,300 and located 60 km from Bemetara, erupted on Saturday after a fight between some schoolchildren.

A village resident, Bhuvneshwar Sahu (23), was killed while three policemen suffered injuries in the violence that prompted the local administration to impose section 144 of the CrPC, which bars assembly of four or more people, in the area.

"The final rites of the deceased were performed peacefully on Sunday with the support of his kin, villagers and administration officials. The law and order situation is still not normal in the village. The administration and police officials will review the situation following which further action plans will be chalked out to maintain peace in the village and adjoining areas,” Bemetara Collector PS Alma said.

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Durg Division Commissioner Mahadeo Kawre said around 800 police personnel have been deployed in the village to maintain law and order.

Senior officials, including the Inspector General of Police (Durg range) and four Superintendents of Police have been camping in the village to monitor the situation which is under control, he added.

When asked about the violence, CM Baghel told reporters in Raipur that the incident should not have happened. 

"I appeal to people to maintain peace,” he said.

"The incident was the fallout of a fight between two children and a youth got killed (in the subsequent violence). Action is being taken based on complaints and the administration has been keeping an eye on the situation," the CM said. 

It could have been averted: Family

Meanwhile, family members of the deceased demanded capital punishment for the perpetrators.

“The murderers of my son should be given death punishment," said Ishwar Sahu, father of the deceased.

If the accused are released from jail, they will commit the same crime and therefore they should be hanged, he said.

Ishwar Sahu said the incident could have been averted had the police acted in time. 

"For a long time, they had been planning to target Hindus in the village," he claimed.

Politics over the killing

Durg BJP MP Vijay Baghel and other leaders of the party visited Biranpur village on Sunday and demanded the police search houses of Muslims in the village to look for weapons.

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"Incidents of love jihad have happened in Biranpur in the past and people have complained about it to police, but no action has been taken," Vijay Baghel claimed and added the negligence of police caused the death of the 23-year-old man.

The district administration and police should constitute a probe committee to investigate the entire matter, he said.

The police have lodged a case under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (rioting), 148 (whoever is guilty of rioting, being armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 307 (attempt to murder) and 302 (murder) and arrested 11 people so far, officials said.

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One more case was lodged against unidentified persons in connection with an attack on police personnel, they said.

The situation remained tense on Sunday and a huge posse of police personnel was deployed to avoid any flare-up.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has appealed to people to maintain peace.

(With PTI inputs)

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