Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Aug 8:
The law and order situation returned to “normal” in Odisha’s Kendrapara town, which had seen prohibitory orders clamped and pitched battle between security personnel and agitating public, today after godman Srimad Sarathi Dev was arrested by the Crime Branch on a host of charges and put behind bars.
“The situation is normal now. We are in talks with local people to maintain law and order situation. The town is by and large peaceful,” newly appointed Kendrapara SP Nitinjit Singh said today.
Singh replaced Satish Gajbhiye, who was shunted out for allegedly violating police protocol. The latter resorted to lathi charge on protestors allegedly without sounding an alarm. Following this, the situation turned violent and prohibitory orders had to be imposed yesterday.
Section 144 CrPC was relaxed in the township and adjoining areas today after the situation improved, official sources said.
The politically sensitive coastal town of Kendrapara was on the boil over the last two days with burning of effigies, posters, stone pelting, cane charge and sloganeering demanding arrest of self-styled Godman Sarathi Baba.
The controversial spiritual guru was picked up by the Crime Branch sleuths in the wee hours today after 14 hours of marathon interrogation at his Barimula ashram on the outskirts of Kendrapara. He faced another round of intense grilling at the Crime Branch headquarters in Cuttack before his arrest was formally announced by Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma today.
Meanwhile, an eerie silence prevails over the ashram sprawling over 2 acres at Barimula even as 20 platoons of policemen have been deployed near the ashram.