Bharat Bandh on SC/ST Act amendment: Trains stopped in Bihar, petrol pumps shut in MP, protests in UP
Bharat Bandh against the amendment to the SC/ST Act: Security has been stepped up and school closed in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and some other states on ThursdayUpdated: Sep 06, 2018 12:18 IST
Thousands of protesters took to streets on Thursday and burned tyres and effigies, blocked roads and stopped trains in several states as they enforced a country-wide shutdown against the amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Reports of violence emerged from several parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as the protests against the SC/ST act spread to Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Schools and shops remained closed in several cities, including Kota, Ajmer and Lucknow, and petrol pump owners kept their establishment shut.
Protesters stopped trains in Bihar’s Darbhanga and Munger and demonstrated in Patna’s Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station. They also set tyres on fire in Mokama.
A high alert was issued in 35 districts of Madhya Pradesh, where the sensitive Gwalior-Chambal region had witnessed large-scale violence on April 2 this year during the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups. Police imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 in all districts of the state and internet services were also stopped in a few districts.
Officials said 34 companies of the special armed force of police and 5,000 security personnel have been deployed in various districts.
“The administration in most of the districts have clamped prohibitive orders under CrPC section 144 in view of the bandh on September 6,” inspector general of police (intelligence) Makrand Deuskar said.
Bhopal: High alert issued in 35 districts across the state in view of #BharatBandh against amendments in SC/ST Act. 34 companies of security forces and 5000 security personnel deployed. Section 144 imposed in several districts. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/OLcRV9pjxy— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
The shutdown has been called by 35 outfits linked to the upper caste communities to protest against the recent amendment to the act. Brahma Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Sangathan’s national president Dharmendra Sharma said about 150 organisations of upper castes and OBCs would participate in the Bharat Bandh against the amendment.
The Rajya Sabha in August passed the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018, which seeks to overturn a Supreme Court order that struck down the provision for the immediate arrest of those booked under the act. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill.
The amendment will in effect nullify the Supreme Court judgment pronounced on March 20. The judgment had diluted the SC/ST act to state that immediate arrest of an accused under this law would no longer be mandatory. The arrest was to follow a preliminary enquiry by the probing agency or the police.
Soon after the judgment was pronounced, various Dalit groups launched a nationwide agitation. Now, upper caste organisations are protesting against the amendment.
(With ANI inputs)
First Published: Sep 06, 2018 09:27 IST