Mass violence reported during Bharat Bandh against Supreme Court ruling preventing misuse of SC/ST act

Dalit organisations called a nationwide Bharat Bandh on Monday in order to protest against the Supreme Court order, which had sought to prevent the misuse of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The two-judge bench which was examining whether safeguards could be put in place so that the said act isn’t misused issued the directions which included, there won’t be an absolute bar on getting anticipatory bail if there is no prima facie case. The court also banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under this act.

Following this, the Modi government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against this ruling which contends that the order will weaken the provision of this act, which could result in more violence against Dalits.

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Despite the Modi government working towards trying to get the stringent procedures restored, a call for Bharat Bandh was issued, which since then has spiralled into incidents of mass violence, resulting in the deaths of at least four people.

The protests have been recorded pan India with regions in Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand and Punjab. In Punjab’s Amritsar, Bathinda scores of protesters carrying weapons forced businesses to shut down and in Firozpur, protesters have been openly brandishing swords.

In Rajasthan’s Barmer cars, the property was damaged and a clothes showroom was vandalised in Jaipur. Several people were injured in a police-protester clash in Ranchi. One person is said to have died in Rajasthan’s Alwar due to police firing.

Madhya Pradesh has been especially hard hit in the protest with a mob in Gwalior getting recording firing shots:

As per Makrand Deuskar – IG Law and Order, four people have died in the said violence at Gwalior and Morena. In Gwalior apart from the deaths, 19 people have been injured out of which two are said to be in critical condition. In the state’s Bhind region mobs have been seen pelting stones. In order to prevent further trouble in Gwalior, curfew has been imposed in parts of the region and the district has seen internet services getting postponed till 6:00 AM tomorrow.

Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh has seen a bus getting set ablaze, vandalism has reported from Meerut and reports have claimed that various districts of Western Uttar Pradesh too have been marred by violence.

Owing to the violence, the police have detained about 30 people in Rajasthan and 60 Dalit and Tribal students have been detained in Ranchi. This “Bharat Bandh has also adversely affected 10th and 12th standard CBSE students in Punjab, following the postponement of their exams.

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