Government deploys 1,500 anti-riot personnel to quell clashes during Bharat Bandh
Eight companies of the Rapid Action Force were sent to Uttar Pradesh, four were dispatched to Madhya Pradesh and three to Rajasthan. Two companies of BSF were deployed in Punjab to assist local administrators to help maintain law and order.Updated: Apr 03, 2018, 00:03 IST
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Monday rushed over 1,500 anti-riot personnel across states to control the clashes that erupted during a nationwide bandh called by Dalit organisations, officials familiar with the matter.
A senior MHA official said eight companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were sent to Uttar Pradesh, four were dispatched to Madhya Pradesh and three to Rajasthan. Two companies of the Border Security Force (BSF) were deployed in Punjab to assist the local administration in maintaining law and order.
According to a senior paramilitary officer, the personnel were dispatched following requests by state governments, which anticipated that the agitation might continue.
Another paramilitary officer said the situation seemed particularly tense in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. “The governments in these states have reasons to believe that the situation might escalate. We are ensuring to that the law and order situation is brought under control,” the officer said.
Earlier in the day, Union home minister Rajnath Singh assured the protesters that the Centre was committed to ensuring the welfare of Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes and appealed to them to not take the law in their hands.
“I am deeply pained by the acts of violence and loss of precious lives in some parts of the country today during protests in context of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act. The Govt of India is committed to ensuring welfare of SC/STs and other weaker sections and also guaranteeing them full protection of law. The Govt has already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to maintain the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act in its presents form (sic),” he said in a series of tweets.
An MHA spokesperson said the ministry was keeping a close watch on the protests.
“The ministry has asked the states to take all preventive measures and maintain public order and is in constant touch with the state governments,” the spokesperson said.