In the protest against the recent Supreme Court judgment on the SC-ST Act, India’s Dalit organizations have called a nationwide Bharat Bandh’ to pressure the government to take strict action in the matter. The Bandh has a wider effect in the states of North India. In states like UP, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, protesters have blocked roads and have affected the movement of trains. There are also reports of violence from UP and Rajasthan. Curfew has been imposed after violence in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena. The protest has led to atleast 10 deaths across India.
Stone pelting On Police Force in Delhi
In the Delhi NCR , the protesters adopted the form of violence against the amendment in the ST-AC Act of 1989, In many places the protesters clashed with the police. Police used light force to deal with this. Protesters blocked many major routes including NH24 and Delhi-Dehradun highway. This caused traffic constraints on many highways completely stalled. The operation of trains has also been affected due to the jam on railway blitz in Ghaziabad.
Effect of Bharat Bandh in Bihar
In Bihar the protest seems to be effective. The train going to Punjab in Bihar has been stopped. Rail and road traffic are affected due to the shutdown. Protestors have jammed the life line ‘Mahatma Gandhi Setu’ between Patna and Hajipur.
Protest in Rajasthan took violent form
The protest in Rajasthan has taken violent form. There is a clash between the Dalit and the police in Barmer. In this clash, 25 people have been injured. Police did lathi charge and used tear gas on protestors. On the other hand, the Karni Sena has come down on the streets against the protests of Dalits. Because of this the two groups clashed with each other and many vehicles were set on fire in Barmer.
Strong protests in Uttar Pradesh
People associated with Dalit organization in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut and Agra and Mainpuri have come out on the road. Protestors stood in front of the trains in many places. The decisions on the SC-ST Act have also been strongly opposed by many organizations in Agra. The BSP workers are blocking the market forcibly in all markets of the city. These people came out on the street with sticks and looted women and shops. People sat on the railway track near the twelve pillars of the Shahganj area. Along with this, many vehicles got stuck in Jam. The state government has tightened the security system.
Impact of Protest in Punjab
After the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the SC-ST Act, People from dalit organizations are active in districts including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Barnala and Patiala. The workers of the organizations came to the streets in early morning. People of Valmiki community in Amritsar stopped the Sachkhand Express, because of which the passengers were troubled. Police has made stringent security arrangements to deal with any problem.
In view of security, the government had already issued orders to shut down all the schools and colleges in the state on Monday. Along with government and private bus services, mobile and dongle internet services and SMS services were also closed till 11 pm yesterday. In order to maintain law and order, 12 thousand additional personnel of the security forces have been fielded.
Jharkhand Police Did Lathi Charge
Bandh supporters in Ranchi landed on the roads and tried to close the shops. They pelted stones at the police. In response, the police left tear gas shells and lathi charged on them.
Politicians Are politicizing The Protest and Adding Fuel To It Instead of A Solution
The Bharat Bandh also got the support of RJD, SP, Congress and Sharad Yadav. Several political parties, including RJD, have also supported the #BharatBandh of the Dalit organizations. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has saluted the protesters. Indian political leaders have supported the shutdown. RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav also tweeted and supported the Bandh.
What is the Supreme Court Ruling on SC/ST Act
Recently, the Supreme Court had decided to ban the direct arrest in the SC / ST Act 1989. The court had said that in cases registered under the SC / ST Act, there would be initial scrutiny first instead of arrest. The court had said that before registering the case, the DSP level officer will conduct an initial investigation of the entire case and in some cases the accused can get advance bail too.
Note- Some Images Used In This Article Are For Representational Purpose Only.