Bharat Bandh on Monday turned violent as 9 people were killed and over hundreds were injured in an unprecedented protests across India. A host of Dalit groups were holding strike to protests against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Rail-tracks were blocked, vehicular traffic movement was hit, police station was set on fire and public and private properties were damaged across 10 states. Internet services continued to remain suspended in certain areas.
Here are top highlights of Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups
1. Out of nine, six persons were killed in Madhya Pradesh. Two persons died in Uttar Pradesh and one in Rajasthan. Thousands, including a BSP MLA, were detained and arrested after incidents of vandalism and arson came to the fore.
2. BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh was the worst hit among the states. Inspector General (law and order) Makrand Deoskar rejected that the casualties took place due to police firing. He said that people were killed during fights between the pro and anti bandh supporters.
3. It has been learnt that a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and a police official were also injured in the protest in Gwalior-Chambal division. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appealed to the protesters to maintain peace in the state.
4. 800 anti-riot policemen were deployed by Union Ministry in MP and UP to check untoward incidents. Curfew was imposed in several services in these two states. Internet services still remain suspended.
5. In Uttar Pradesh, one person was killed in Muzaffarnagar and another in Meerut, while nearly 75 persons including 40 policemen were injured in violent protests in various parts of the state. Police has detained nearly 450 people there. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had assured that both central and state governments were working for Dalits, SC, ST.
6. In another BJP ruled state Rajasthan, one person was killed and 26 others injured. Nine policemen were also received injuries.
7. Delhi, Punjab, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha and Maharashtra also witnessed violent protests. The movement of over 100 trains getting affected due to protests.
8. The Supreme Court had on March 20 diluted certain provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in a bid to protect ‘honest’ public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act. The central government yesterday had filed a review petition.
9. Political slugfest over the issue has been erupted as Congress president Rahul Gandhi has lashed out at BJP while senior central ministers have hit back. Home Minister Rajnath Singh appealed for peace, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was not a party to the Supreme Court decision.
10. Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, a prominent Dalit leader and head of NDA constituent LJP, appreciated the government’s quick decision.
11. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that incidents of atrocities on Dalits and minorities have increased in the country since the NDA came to power in 2014, while AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extended his support to the protesting groups. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her support for the Dalit cause.