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Here is a look at today’s developments:
Centre files review petition
The Union government, in its review petition, said the March 20 verdict has “wide ramification and implication resulting in dilution of the stringent provisions of law enacted under the 1989 enactment. It adversely affects a substantial portion of the population of India being the members of SC/ST. It is also contrary to the legislative policy of Parliament as reflected in the Prevention Of Atrocities Act 1989”.
SC decline urgent hearing
The Centre moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its recent verdict by which safeguards were put on the provisions of immediate arrest under the stringent SC/ST Act.
The apex court, however, declined urgent hearing on a writ petition filed by All India Federation of SC/ST Organisations claiming that the entire nation has witnessed large-scale violence during today’s ‘Bharat Bandh’. The court said the plea would be listed and heard in due course.
Central forces deployed
The Centre rushed 1,700 anti-riot police personnel to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab following reports of violence. While eight companies of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) were sent to Uttar Pradesh, four companies were dispatched to Madhya Pradesh and three to Rajasthan, a Home Ministry official said.
Rail traffic affected
Over 100 passenger and mail train services were today affected and two trains, including a Shatabdi, were short-terminated as protesters squatted on the tracks to enforce an all-India shutdown against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act, officials said, adding that the routes were largely restored.
The New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express was short-terminated at Ludhiana, while the New Delhi-Amritsar Shan-e-Punjab Express was short-terminated at Ambala, officials said, adding that the trains would commence their return journey from the respective short-terminated stations.
One person was killed in Muzaffarnagar and nearly 75 persons including 40 policemen were injured, while 448 people were detained on various charges including arson and damage to public property, police said.
In Azamgarh, protesters torched two state-run buses, injuring several passengers. There were reports of violence from Agra, Hapur and Meerut in western UP.
The Madhya Pradesh Police on Monday affirmed that at least six people have been killed in the state due to the ongoing nationwide shutdown.
Earlier in the day, protesters in Morena blocked a railway track, curfew was imposed after one person died in the agitations, while section 144 (prohibits assembly of more than four people in the area) was imposed in Gwalior and Sagar, respectively. Protests were also seen in the state’s Bhind area, where protesters took to pelting stones.
Agitators disrupted road and rail traffic and asked commercial establishments to down their shutters as they went around enforcing a nationwide bandh.
The police lobbed teargas shells and resorted to cane-charge to scatter a mob in Sarangpur area of Ahmedabad, an official of the city police control room said. The area, which has a sizeable Dalit population, saw some protesters forcing shop owners to close their establishments and some locals also alleged incidents of vandalism and loot. Similar agitations were held in Surendranagar, Kutch Jamnagar, Mehsana and other parts of Gujarat.
Nearly 30 people were detained as Dalit groups protesting against the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act blocked rail and road traffic and vandalised public property, including a train, in several parts of Rajasthan, disrupting normal life in the state.
Protesters gathered at major roads in the state capital lead to traffic snarls, while incidents of stone pelting and damage to public property were also reported, police said.
Dalit organisations staged protests in the national capital today as part of the country-wide bandh against the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act, bringing traffic to a standstill in Lutyens’ Delhi.
In other areas of the city, the respective deputy commissioners of police, assistant commissioners of police, SHOs were out in the field to ensure that peace is maintained. There were no reports of any violence in Delhi.
The CBSE has already postponed Class 12 and Class 10 examinations scheduled to be held today in Punjab at the request of the state government in view of the ‘Bharat Bandh’. The government ordered closure of educational institutions, suspended bus services, and curtailed mobile and Internet services. Two companies of the Border Security Force were sent to Punjab to assist the local administration quell the violence.
Protesters stormed the railway station, forced closure of ticket counters and squatted on tracks disrupting the movement of a number of trains.
Reports from Patna said that more than 3,000 people were held by the police across Bihar for disruption of public order during the bandh.
Normal life was also affected in several parts of Odisha where activists of different Dalit groups put up road blockades. Buses also remained off the roads at Biramitrapur, Malkangiri, Kalahandi and Bolangir.
Shops and business establishments remained shut in several areas of tribal-dominated Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Sundargarh and Bolangir districts, the police said.
A strike call given by various Dalit outfits was, however, largely ineffective in the hilly state. The protests were peaceful. A large number of people led by former minister Singhi Ram and former Shimla mayor Sohan Lal assembled at Cart Road in Shimla and blocked traffic for an hour.
In Ranchi, police had to resort to tear gas and baton charge after the bandh supporters hurled stones on police during the bandh. As many as 777 persons were arrested in Ranchi district, he said but added there was no untoward incident in the district. In Palamau, about 200 bandh supporters were taken into custody for enforcing bandh in the district .
(With inputs from agencies)