As many as 5,000 people were booked for creating ruckus and damaging public and government properties here during protests against “dilution” of the provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the SSP said. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vaibhav Krishna said police have lodged reports against 5,000 unidentified and 285 named miscreants under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Till now 32 agitators have been arrested and raids are being conducted to arrest others. Furthermore, police have identified 43 places in urban and 17 places in rural areas of the district as highly sensitive where agitators may disturb peace again. Heavy police forces have been deployed on these points, the SSP said yesterday.
Nine policemen who were injured during the agitations on Monday are still undergoing treatment, Krishna said. The Supreme Court had on March 20 banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Ruling that no arrest can be made under the Act without prior permission, the apex court had also held that a court can grant anticipatory bail if it, prima facie, finds the complaint is an abuse of the law, false, motivated and intended to blackmail or harass a person. Monday’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ was called by various Dalit groups and backed by political outfits to demand restoration of the Act to its original form.