Protests by Dalit outfits against the Supreme Court order preventing immediate arrest under SC/ST Atrocities Act has turned violent in many parts of NCR towns and the country. Today the Dalit outfits have called for a Bharat Bandh. Reports of arson and pelting stones on cops have come from Hapur near Ghaziabad as well as in Meerut, where the police reportedly had to resort to lathicharge. Violent protesters set on fire a police post in the city. In Hapur one cop was injured after getting hit on head while in Ghaziabad a bike was set on fire.
Meanwhile, reports of widespread unrest have come from Punjab where internet services are reportedly shut down and CBSE exams have been cancelled. In Madhya Pradesh’s Muraina one person died after hit by a bullet. Several areas in MP are under curfew. In Rajasthan also protestors pelted stones at the police in Alwar and Barmer areas and tried to destroy public property.There are also reports of protesters stopping trains in many parts of the country.
The issue seems to have been politicised with opposition parties Congress, RJD etc jumping on the bandwagon and criticising the Modi government. Rahul Gandhi said that the BJP was trying to suppress the voice of Dalits.
The Centre meanwhile has filed a review petition in Supreme Court against its order. Central Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan hit back on the opposition parties for politicizing the issue. Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that no one should be given the liberty to push the country into a caste based conflict.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has reportedly passed instructions to DMs and SSP/SPs of all districts to deal with the violent protesters in a strict manner.
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs is closely monitoring the situation in the wake of bandh and protests in the country, said a statement by the ministry. The ministry is in constant touch with the states. Whichever state has asked for Central Forces, they have been made available immediately.
Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have so far requested for Central Forces. Rapid Action Force (RAF) and CAPFs have been made available. The ministry has asked the states to take all preventive measures and maintain public order and ensure the safety of lives of people and property.