Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Apr 15:
Senior BJP leader Jayanarayan Mishra, arrested by the police this morning for violating the prohibitory order clamped by the district administration to restrain the devotees not to display sharp weapons during celebration of Hanuman Jayanti in Odisha’s Sambalpur city on Tuesday, was later remanded to judicial custody.
After his arrest, Mishra was forwarded to the court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) which remanded him to judicial custody after rejecting his bail plea.
Out of a total of eight cases, Mishra got bail in five cases while he failed to get the bail in three other cases.
Tension ran high at the court premises as Mishra’s supporters, while protesting the arrest of their leader, had a scuffle with the police.
Talking to the media today, Sambalpur SP Akhleswar Singh said the police had registered two FIRs against Mishra at the Town Police Station and Dhanupalli police stations for wielding sword at the procession while violating the prohibitory order under section 144-A clamped by the district administration.
The BJP leader has been arrested by the Ainthapalli police, he added.
“We worship swords and other weapons during Durga Puja and Hanuman Jayanti. No one can stop us from doing this in a democratic country. I don’t care for the arrest. Police have arrested me to keep the ruling party happy”, Mishra said in his reaction to the media.
According to reports, there were special rituals in all temples of the city on Tuesday morning. After the rituals, the devotees took out processions from several areas. The procession later reached the Hanuman temple at Brooks Hill.
After the rituals of the Lord, the devotees brought four swords from the temple. In the meantime, a youth handed over one of the swords to Mishra. At this, some police officers including the additional SP Sushil Panigrahi tried to snatch the sword from Mishra. Enraged, Mishra had a scuffle with Panigrahi who fell down in the process.
The irate BJP leader later wielded the sword in the middle of the road for about five minutes as he was not permitted to do so inside the temple premises by the police.
Armed with the lathis and flags, several groups of devotees took out the procession from various places of the city and went round the city displaying martial art (akhada) on the main road.
The procession later went to the Pira Baba Chhak where the akhada group leaders were felicitated. According to police, Mishra also wielded the sword at the place and threatened the Town Police IIC Pradip Sahu as the latter tried to restrain him. Besides display of weapons, the devotees also displayed fireworks.
Mishra had also manhandled the then DSP, District Intelligence Bureau (DIB), during the Hanuman Jayanti in 2013.
According to police, the devotees, during the procession, also damaged streetlights.
Police have video recorded the entire proceedings of the procession.
Besides the SP, the festival was supervised by the district collector Balwant Singh, additional collector Jyoti Kumar Lakada and sub collector Bimelendu Ray.
Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi had also witnessed the festival at the Zilla School Chhak.