By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, April 19, 2023: In protest against violence that erupted during Hanuman Jayanti processions in Sambalpur, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Wednesday called a dawn-to-dusk bandh in 14 districts.

The bandh began at 6 a.m. and continued till 6 p.m. on Wednesday. BJP, Bajrang Dal and some other political outfits supported the bandh call.

According to sources, the bandh has affected normalcy in Sambalpur, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sonepur, Bargarh, Boudh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, and Rayagada districts.

Shops and business establishments were shut in these districts. The vehicular movements also affected in the 14 districts as the VHP and Bajrang Dal are picketing in different roads and squares of various towns.

However, emergency services like ambulances, fire service vehicles, and others were exempted from the purview of the bandh.

Police personnel were deployed at important junctions in the affected districts to prevent any untoward incident. Till afternoon, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the 14 districts.

“During the Hanuman Jayanti procession, a few people of a particular religion attacked our brothers and pelted stones at them. However, no strong action is being taken in this regard. The government and administration are going easy on the rioters. So, we have called for the bandh,” said a protesting VHP activist.

Meanwhile, the Sambalpur district administration has relaxed curfew from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the situation has improved in the town. The state government extended the suspension of internet services by another day till 10 a.m. on Thursday across Sambalpur district. However, internet service has been restored for banks and commercial establishments in some areas.

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