Bhopal/Jaipur/New Delhi: Four persons were killed and several others, including policemen, sustained injuries in violent protests in Madhya Pradesh during the nationwide bandh called today by Dalit outfits against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Curfew was clamped in three districts including Bhind, where the Army was called in to control the situation.
“Two people were killed in Gwalior while one person each died in Bhind and Morena districts during the violence,” Inspector General (law and order) Makrand Deoskar said.
Incidents of stone-pelting, arson and loot were also reported from several parts of the State during the protest.
A student leader, identified as Rahul Pathak, died in firing in Morena district, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Umesh Shukla said. Pathak was allegedly shot by agitators and he succumbed to injuries en route to the hospital, he said.
A person, identified as Mahavir Singh (32), died in the firing in Bhind district where while two others suffered serious injuries and were referred to a hospital in Gwalior, Bhind’s chief medical and health officer JPS Kushwaha said.
Protests were also held in the State capital Bhopal with agitators blocking a road on the Board Office Square near the statue of Dalit icon Dr BR Ambedkar.
More than two dozen vehicles were damaged, several of them burnt by the protesters, eyewitnesses said.
Nearly 30 people were detained as Dalit groups protesting against the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act today blocked rail and road traffic and vandalised public property, including a train, in several parts of Rajasthan, disrupting normal life in Rajasthan.
Protestors gathered at major roads in the State capital lead to traffic snarls, while incidents of stone pelting and damage to public property were also reported, police said.
Nearly 30 people 20 from Ajmer and 10 from Jaipur were detained after protestors damaged public property, they said.
Protestors damaged glass windows of Shatabdi Express at Khairthal railway station, Khairthal GRP SHO Ramesh Chandra said.
According to Railways spokesperson, movement of seven trains was affected in North-Western railway region.
Officials at the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) said that operation of buses was normal till 11 AM but the movement was stopped after protests escalated, they said.
A number of Dalit organisations also staged a protest in the national capital today as part of the countrywide agitation called by them against the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act banning automatic arrest and registration of cases.
The protesters, who were demanding that the provisions related to immediate arrest be restored, gathered at Mandi House and blocked the road outside the metro station there, bringing traffic to a halt and inconveniencing commuters travelling towards ITO and other stretches.
A heavy police force was deployed at Mandi House in view of the protests.
Shouting slogans of Jai Bhim, the protesters also blocked one of the carriageways of Barakhamba Road affecting traffic on the stretch, police said.
A number of Dalit organisations have called for a Bharat Bandh today to protest against the Supreme Court order claiming that it has created a feeling of insecurity among the members of the marginalised communities and that getting justice will be even more difficult now.
They said the Centre had announced that it will be filing a review petition only after they called for a bandh demanding that the law that protects the scheduled castes and tribes against discrimination and atrocities be restored in its original form.
Police had also closed the traffic movement on Sansad Marg from Patel Chowk to Jantar Mantar.
Meanwhile, incidents of stone pelting on buses were reported here in north Maharashtra today as several Dalit organisations express their concerns over the dilution of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“Protesters pelted stones on four State transport buses, including the Shahada-Padsalda bus, at Shahada in Nandurbar district,” a police official said.
The Supreme Court had on 20 March diluted certain provisions of the SC/ST 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 verdict is being widely criticised by the Dalits and the Opposition, who claim that dilution of the Act will lead to more discrimination and crimes against the backward community.