Indian Army denies conducting flag march in Assam's Sonitpur after clashes over Ram temple celebration

The clashes broke out when the bike-borne Bajrang Dal members were on their way to a temple at Bhora Singori, playing loud music and raising slogans

Press Trust of India August 07, 2020 22:47:06 IST
Indian Army denies conducting flag march in Assam's Sonitpur after clashes over Ram temple celebration

Editor's note: This article has been changed after a clarification was issued by the Indian Army.

The Indian Army on Friday denied that it had carried out a flag march in the troubled areas of Sonitpur district, which witnessed clashes two communities after a bike rally was organised by Bajrang Dal activists to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

"The Indian Army did not carry out any flag march at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district of Assam. This would give a wrong impression among the common people," said Guwahati-based Defence PRO Lt Col P Khongsai.

Earlier on Thursday, news agency PTI citing officials erroneously reported about a flag march being conducted in the troubled areas of Sonitpur district.

An indefinite curfew has been clamped in areas under the jurisdictions of Thelamara and Dhekiajuli police stations in the district, they said. Sonitpur Additional Superintendent of Police, Numal Mahata, told PTI that Army personnel conducted a flag march on the district administration's request.

"We have already detained two persons for questioning. There was no report of any untoward incident since last night. The situation is fully under control," he said.

Mahata also said around 10 people from both sides suffered injuries. The Bajrang Dal, however, claimed at least 12 of its activists were injured.

Meanwhile, sources said Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Gyanendra Pratap Singh, has been asked to visit the disturbed areas to assess the situation and he is already on his way.

Sonitpur Superintendent of Police, Mugdhajyoti Dev Mahanta, has also been camping at the spot since Wednesday evening. The clashes broke out when the bike-borne activists were on their to a temple at Bhora Singori, playing loud music and mouthing slogans.

A senior official said locals objected to the booming music and questioned the presence of such a large gathering amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to strife.

Sonitpur District Deputy Commissioner Manvendra Pratap Singh's vehicle was vandalised when he reached the spot shortly after the incident, the official said.

"To control the situation, which turned into a communal clash, police first lathicharged and then fired in the air. Additional forces were deployed after many bikes and other vehicles were torched... The activists did not have any permission for the procession," Singh had said on Wednesday.

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