Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 30:
The simmering anger against the nefarious activities in the Trahi Achyuta ashram on the outskirts of the Odisha capital boiled over on Sunday evening with a mob ransacking ashram property and setting fire to more than a dozen vehicles.
Trouble started when ashram inmates attacked a large crowd of local people shouting slogans against Sura Baba, the head of the ashram, and demanding his arrest after some startling revelations on Kanak TV, our sister concern, about the unholy happenings in this supposedly holy place this afternoon.
As news of the attack on the protesters by ashram inmates spread, hundreds of people from nearby villages gathered at the spot, broke open the ashram gate and ransacked everything in sight; smashing ashram furniture, trampling on the Baba’s pictures and setting at least 15 vehicles on fire.
It was not clear whether the controversial Baba and his builder son were inside when the ashram was vandalised. One report suggested that they had vanished through a rear exit.
Sensing the mood of the irate mob, the few policemen on duty at the ashram stood as mute spectators. Reinforcements were rushed from the Baliapatna police station nearby but they were too few to take on the rampaging mob.
As the situation threatened to go out of control, four platoons of police were rushed from the police headquarters in Cuttack to the Jhiinti Sasan where the ashram is located. But even they have failed to restore normalcy. Tension still prevailed when reports last came in.
Twin City commissioner RP Sharma himself was present on the ground trying to pacify the angry mob and dissuading them from violence, but without much success.
ADG Bijayanand Jha said additional forces have been kept in readiness and would be rushed to Jhiinti if the situation warranta.
DGP Sanjeev Marik urged people not to take the law into their hands and lodge a complaint with the police if they had a grievance.
“We request the people to refrain from violence and lodge their complaints, if any, with the police. On the basis of their complaints, police would certainly take appropriate action,” Marik told a television news channel.
Meanwhile, there are reports that an FIR has indeed been registered against the Baba at the Balipatna. But there is no clarity yet on the contents of the FIR and the identity of the complainant.