Bharat Bandh: What happened where during Dalit protests
Skirmishes break out between protestors and police in UP, Gujarat, Bihar; transport system badly hit due to road and railway blockades; internet services blocked in parts of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh to prevent spread of violence.
Protests against the Supreme Court order barring immediate arrest in case of complaints filed under the SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act took a violent turn across North India on Monday. Various Dalit groups took to the streets, damaging properties, burning vehicles, and blocking roads and railway tracks.
While six people were killed due to the protests in Madhya Pradesh, two in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan reported one death. Protestors clashed with police in many places, leading to lathicharge and tear-gassing. Schools remained closed in many places. South India remained mostly unaffected due to the bandh.
Three deaths have been reported from Gwalior, two from Bhind and one from Morena, taking the total number of deaths to six in Madhya Pradesh.
Buses were set ablaze in Bhopal, while an additional superintendent of police was beaten up and his vehicle damaged in Gwalior district. Curfew was imposed in Gwalior and Morena, while prohibitory order was issued in Bhind. Internet services have been suspended in the affected districts.
While one protester succumbed to injuries in Muzaffarnagar, another in Meerut, said deputy inspector general (Law and order) Praveen Kumar.Forty policemen and 50 people were injured in the clashes across the state. The police have taken 448 people into custody, he said.
Protestors attacked shops, looted some of them and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut and Saharanpur, according to media reports. Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut and attacked journalists in separate incidents. Buses were damaged in Meerut and Saharanpur. A police vehicle was also set on fire in Saharanpur district. Protestors indulged in vandalism at Muzaffarnagar railway station, stoning the Kochi Express.
Supporters of Bhim Army and other Dalit groups with active support of RJD and CPI(M) halted over three dozen long-distance and local passenger trains, stranding passengers at Patna, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Begusarai, Madhepura, Bhagalpur, Ara, Darbhanga, Araria, Nalanda, Samastipur, Nawada and Hajipur stations. There were reports of sporadic violence in Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna and Bhagalpur as protestors clashed with police. Protestors also vandalised Gaya and Bettiah railway stations.
One person was killed in police firing in Alwar after protestors went on the rampage, burning vehicles, damaging shops and pelting stones on police. Nearly 30 people — 20 from Ajmer and 10 from Jaipur — were detained after protestors damaged public property, police said. Reports of lathicharge emerged from Jaipur and Bharatpur, while in Barmer, police resorted to use of tear gas shells. Protestors damaged glass windows of Shatabdi Express at Khairthal railway station. Internet services have been suspended in Bharatpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Alwar and Sikar till 8 pm and indefinitely in Jalore, Jaisalmer, Sirohi, Pali and Barmer districts.
A mob went on the rampage in Ahmedabad, damaging shops, and leading to a clash with police. Protestors pelted stones and vandalised a market, forcing police to lob tear gas shells at them. Roads were blocked in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. Protestors damaged shops in Jamnagar. In Rajkot, agitators tried to enforce a shutdown of commercial establishments. Several Dalit activists and Congress workers symbolically burnt copies of the Supreme Court order in Rajkot. In Jamnagar and Surendranagar, a large number of Dalit agitators squatted on railway tracks, forcing trains to stop.
Though Mumbai remained largely peaceful, sporadic violence was reported from Nagpur. Protesters blocked Mumbai-Kolkata and Jabalpur-Hyderabad national highways for over an hour. Stone pelting on vehicles and shops was also reported, One bus was torched and reports of intimidation by protestors poured in. Protestors also halted a Chennai-Delhi train at Gaddigudam.
Thousands of protestors gathered at Mandi House in the heart of the national capital and blocked Barakhamba Road, disrupting traffic. Train services were also disrupted in Ghaziabad, when a mob arrived at the railway yard and started pelting stones.