Bharat Bandh called by several organizationstions over the alleged “dilution” of SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act disrupted normal life across several parts of India as protesters blocked rail and road traffic and resorted to violence and arson in Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana along with national capital.
The bandh supporters shouted slogans against the Modi government even as the Centre filed a review petition in Supreme Court challenging the top court’s order banning automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of SCs and STs.
India has over 180 million Dalits. A crime is committed against a Dalit every 15 minutes. Six Dalit women are raped every day. Over the last 10 years (2007-2017), there has been a 66% growth in crime against Dalits. Further, data from the National Crime Records Bureau on which the Supreme Court based its recent judgment that sought to protect public servants and private citizens from arbitrary arrests under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, show that the rape of Dalit women has doubled in the last 10 years. The figures represent only a tip of the iceberg since most Dalits do not register cases for fear of retaliation by higher castes. Even if a case reaches court, the most likely outcome is acquittal due to caste biases at every stage.
03:52 pm: The Modi Govt has failed to prevent dilution of the SC/ST Act and has no interest in the welfare of Dalits or minorities, says Ghulam Nabi Azad.
03:50 pm: Atrocities against minorities, Dalits and other marginalised communities have risen sharply under the Modi Govt, but no concrete action has been taken, says senior Congress leader GN Azad.
02:51 pm: Supreme Court declines urgent hearing on a plea for stay and review of verdict putting safeguards in the SC/ST Act. It will be taken up in due course, says the apex court.
02:36 pm: Internet services blocked in Alwar from 2:30 pm till 8 pm. Army called in.
02:31 pm: Police resort to aerial firing to disperse protesters in Meerut
02:30 pm: Rajasthan’s Bharatpur rocked with violence as protesters fire at police. Tear gas and aerial shooting used to scatter the crowd.
02:29 pm: As per government instructions, Internet services have been blocked in Bhind District till 03/04/2018 06:00 AM.
02:29 pm: IG Law and Order Makrand Deuskar says that four people have died in protests in Gwalior and Morena
02:27 pm: 19 people injured, out of which 2 remain critical in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior; Internet services blocked in the city till 6:00 am tomorrow, amid protests over SC/ST protection act
02:11 pm: Protesters outside Ghaziabad DM’s office clueless about the reason. When India Tv asked them about their demands, they said they are protesting about adding ‘Ramji’ to BR Ambedkar’s name.
02:07 pm: In Punjab’s Bathinda, Dalits hit a businessman with a baseball bat, injured another woman. Two vehicles on Bathinda ISBT also vandalised.
02:02 pm: Tourist bus carrying foreigners attacked in Noida’s Hindon.
01:55 pm: Police station burned down in Alwar. Security forces open fire to disperse the crowd, two people injured.
01:51 pm: Ambulance stuck in Bihar’s Nawada: protesters refused to allow ambulance carrying a sick child despite requests. Mother had to carry the child in arms till hospital.
01:46 pm: Bus torched in Azamgarh. DM office attacked. Bus carrying tourists also attacked.
01:44 pm: Violent protesters block Delhi-Howrah rail route, attack cops
01:44 pm: Aligarh railway station under siege
01:44 pm: Protester set a bus on fire in UP’s Meerut
01:43 pm: Violent protests by Dalits in UP’s Saharanpur. The city comes to a standstill as protesters block main crossings and force shops to shut down. Police resort to lathicharge to stop vandalism by bandh supporters.
01:40 pm: SP, BSP workers join protesters in Allahabad
01:30 pm: Railways services hampered due to protests. Delhi bound trains held near Modi Nagar.
01:26 pm: Sec 144 imposed in Rajasthan’s Barmer. Protesters burn down three vehicles, over 50 others vandalised. Protesters attempt to vandalise police station. The situation remains tense.
01:22 pm: Thousands protest in Maharashtra’s Nagpur.
01:22 pm: Several policemen injured after protesters pelted stones. Tear gas used to disperse the crowd.
01:16 pm: Protesters block roads in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.
01:15 pm: Protesters blatantly resort to hooliganism in Haryana’s Fatehabad. Under the pretenses of protests, youth vandalise markets. Security forces missing.
01:10 pm: Delhi Police is alert. We have adequate police deployment at places & senior officials are also present in the field. All steps will be taken to maintain law & order: Deependra Pathak, Spokesperson, Delhi Police on #BharatBandh over SC/ST protection act
12:52 pm: One can understand if people protest, but why is opposition playing politics? Parties like Congress who did not give Bharat Ratna to BR Ambedkar are now acting like his followers: Ramvilas Paswan, Union Minister
12:40 pm: We have filed the review petition in Supreme Court. I appeal to all political parties and groups to maintain peace and not incite violence: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Bharat Bandh over SC/ST protection act
12:30 pm: One dead in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena; curfew imposed in the area amid protests over the SC/ST Act
12:23 pm: Markets closed forcibly in Delhi’s neighbouring Gurgaon.
12:20 pm: Congress leader Kanti Lal Bhuria on SC/ST Act: The government filed review petition under pressure. It actually wants to end reservation for SC/STs.
12:18 pm: Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa: States are going to bear losses worth crores, all because of Centre.
12:15 pm: Gwalior administration orders curfew in areas under four police stations to cull violence.
12:11 pm: Swami Shradhanad College (DU) students raise slogans in support of apex court verdict on SC/ST Act. Students say that the law was misused frequently, so they support the court’s decision despite being from the category.
12:06 pm: The central and state governments are dedicated towards the welfare of backward castes, SC and ST. I appeal to all to not disturb the law and order. If at all there are any issues you can bring them to govt’s notice: UP CM Yogi Adityanath
12:06 pm: Police opens fire at protesters in MP’s Bhind. Reports of crossing firing. Miscreants set motorcycle on fire.
12:01 pm: Haryana’s Karnal witnesses massive traffic jams as protesters block the highway.
11:59 am: Lathis for unemployed, lathis for students, lathis for farmers, lathis for Dalits… Will BJP government leave the British behind in cruelty: Congress
11:55 am: Protestors blocked Barakhamba road. Police diverted the traffic.
11:45 am: Protest at Delhi-Haridwar highway turns violent, arson and firing reported from the site.
11:36 am: Keeping Dalits in the lowest strata of Indian society is RSS/BJP’s DNA. They crush those who dare challenge it. Thousands of Dalits have taken to streets to demand their rights. We salute them: Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.
11:35 am: Rail traffic disrupted for two hours in Delhi’s neighbouring Ghaziabad after protesters come down on tracks. Police lathi-charged youth supporting bandh after protests turned violent, a bike was set on fire.
11:35 am: In UP’s Meerut, Dalits blocked traffic at Maliyana crossing. Police engage in a scuffle with female protesters. Over 1 dozen vehicles set on fire.
11:33 am: I wish to convey that today we’ve filed a petition on the judgment by Supreme Court on the SC/ST act. We have filed a comprehensive review petition which will be presented before the court by the senior lawyers of the government: Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Law Minister
11:30 am: Scuffle between protesters and Police in Ranchi, Jharkhand, several people injured.
09:45 am: In Rajasthan’s Alwar, youth supporting bandh stop Jaipur Delhi double-decker train near Ghatla ka railway station. They forcefully managed to get stop the train and started to shout slogans. Because of this, Jaipur Delhi Railway track has been blocked. Railway officials have held Shatabdi train back at railway station because of the protests.
09:22 am: RJD workers block a road in Patna’s Kumrhar. RJD leader Umesha Yadav alleged that Union govt is anti-Dalit. “Mahadalits are being denied their rights, they are are trying to muzzle the voices of the Dalits,” Yadav added.
09:02: Impact of bandh also visible in Nawada, Bihar. Thousands of workers of different political parties force shopkeepers to shut businesses. Traffic queues run in kilometres as NH-31 blocked by protesters. Rail traffic also blocked in Nawada.
Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit in Kashinath Mahajan, adopting ‘purposive interpretation’ and invoking Ambedkar on societal fraternity, have diluted the stringent provision of denial of anticipatory bail in the SC/ST Act.