Massive violence, arson in Chhattisgarh collectorate premises in protests over religious site vandalism | Raipur News – Times of India

RAIPUR: In a massive violent protest, thousands of Scheduled Caste Satnami community members set fire a portion of the collectorate building in Baloda Bazar district of Chhattisgarh on Monday, vandalizing vehicles and clashing with police, protesting the desecration of their religious site on the night of May 15-16.
The demonstrators also torched two of the seven fire tenders en route to the collectorate premises, where they set ablaze cars, two-wheelers, and other property, alleging that police were trying to save the real culprits who damaged the ‘Jaitkham’ and demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident.When protesters tried to enter the collector’s office on Monday to demand a CBI inquiry, they became aggressive upon encountering barricades outside the premises, leading to a scuffle with policemen.
Video footage and photos obtained by TOI reveal the severity of the situation, showing the collectorate building. Which also houses the office of the superintendent of police, completely burnt, vandalized vehicles, and thousands of protesters clad in white raising slogans.
The Jaitkham, also known as the Victory Pillar, holds significant importance for the Satnami community in Chhattisgarh. It is a revered religious symbol representing the triumph of good over evil and the spiritual heritage of the community. Located at the Amar Gufa, the Jaitkham (religious pillar) is a place of worship and a focal point for cultural and religious gatherings, embodying the identity and history of the Satnami people. Satnami community members see its desecration as a profound disrespect and an attack on the community’s beliefs and traditions.
Amid the tense situation in Baloda Bazar district, SP Sadanand Kumar said that the Satnami community had initially called for a peaceful protest. Still, they became aggressive and indulged in stone-throwing at the police.
“They broke the barricades, entered the collectorate premises, pelted stones, and vandalized public and private properties. They torched vehicles and buildings. The protesters had gathered to voice their protest. Despite the government ordering an inquiry into their earlier raised issues, they resorted to this kind of destruction,” SP Kumar said.
According to sources, hundreds of employees were trapped inside the collectorate premises as the violence continued.
The root cause of the protest dates back to May 15-16, when the religious site of the Satnami community, the Jaitkham, was vandalized in Giroudhpuri town of Baloda Bazar district. Though two persons were arrested in connection with the incident, protesters alleged that the police were trying to save the real culprits who desecrated the religious site.
While community members have been demanding the arrest of the main culprits, Home Minister Vijay Sharma announced a judicial inquiry into the case on Sunday. chief minister Vishnu Deo Sai also stated earlier that the incident, which disturbed social harmony, should undergo a judicial probe.

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