The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an advisory to all states to take necessary precautionary measures in the view of Bandh called for Tuesday. A week after Dalit groups across the country held a nationwide protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, which witnessed massive violence in different parts of the countryleading to the death of nine people, a Bharat Bandh against caste-based reservation in education and jobs has been called today. According to security sources, calls for an anti-quota bandh started circulating on social media after Dalit protests last week. Separate security alerts have also been issued in a number of states, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, from where the deaths were reported on April 2. “No group has come forward to say they are organising a call for a bandh. These messages are doing the rounds in social media,” said Jaipur police chief Sanjay Agarwal. “We are holding meetings with community liaison groups and traders. Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their hands,” he added.
Top 10 developments on Bharat Bandh called by Dalit outfits today
1. Schools to remain shut today in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad: Schools for students of Class I to IX will remain closed tomorrow, as a precautionary measure, in the wake of Bharat Bandh called on Tuesday. According to media reports, a shutdown has been called by some groups for April 10, who are reportedly against caste-based reservations in jobs and education.
2. MHA asks states to tighten security: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its advisory said, “MHA has advised the states to beef up security and make appropriate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident, including issue of prohibitory orders, if necessary. It has asked for intensification of patrolling in all sensitive locations so as to prevent any loss of life or damage to property.”
“The Advisory stressed that District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police be made personally responsible for ensuring that law and order situation remains firmly under control in the areas of their jurisdiction,” statement added.
3. Internet services to be suspended in Jaipur: In view of Bharat Bandh called by different groups, prohibitory orders will be clamped in Jaipur. Police Commissioner Sanjay Aggarwal, in a press conference, said that no procession or protest will be allowed on Tuesday and strict action will be taken against offenders. Internet services will remain suspended in the city from 12 midnight on Monday till Tuesday night. STF teams have been deputed at different locations of the city, he added.
4. Section 144 to be imposed in Bhopal: Section 144 has been imposed in Bhopal today in the wake of Bharat Bandh. Around 6000 police personnel will be deployed in order to ward off any violence or untoward incidents. Although the section has been imposed in several other districts of Madhya Pradesh, but Gwalior, Bhind and Morena are deemed to be the sensitive areas.
5. BSP team meets Yogi Adityanath, claims party workers being harassed post April 2 Bharat Bandh: A delegation of BSP leaders, led by party national general secretary SC Misra met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday alleging harassment of party supporters on the pretext of taking action against arson and violence during Bharat Bandh on April 2.
“We met the chief minister and apprised him of how Dalits, especially supporters of the BSP, are being targeted in the name of action against those who indulged in arson and vandalism during the April 2 agitation called by Dalit organisations,” Misra told newspersons after meeting Adityanath.
6. Bharat bandh violence – 3 more held in Muzaffarnagar: With the arrest of three more persons, 90 people have been held so far in connection with the violent agitation here during the countrywide protests by Dalit groups on April 2 against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, police said.
Dhiraj Kumar, Sumit and Arjun were arrested on Monday. With the latest development, more than 40 cases have been registered in the district under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
7. 4 Madhya Pradesh govt staffers suspended for taking part in April 2 protests: Four Madhya Pradesh government employees have been suspended by the collector of Bhind for allegedly taking part in the “Bharat bandh” called by Dalit outfits on April 2 to protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Bhind Collector Illaiyaraja T said Suresh Kaushal and Yogesh Gupta, both assistant grade 2 employees, Pravesh Dohre, a peon, and Mahesh Verma, an assistant clerk, were placed under suspension yesterday. The four were posted at the district collectorate and a probe had revealed that they had participated in the April 2 protests, the collector added.
8. MP cops gear up for social media-fuelled April 10 shutdown call: A call on social media and WhatsApp groups for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on April 10, reportedly by people opposed to caste-based reservations in jobs and education, led Madhya Pradesh police to issue an appeal for calm and peace.
Responding to a media query on shutdown calls being circulated on social media by groups opposed to reservations, Director General of Police (DGP) Rishi Kumar Shukla said the police was prepared to deal with any situation.
“We are appealing to citizens to maintain peace and harmony in the state. But we are equally prepared to deal with any untoward situation,” Shukla told reporters.
9. 5,000 booked, 32 arrested for rioting in Ghaziabad: As many as 5,000 people have been 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 Vaibhav Krishna said police have lodged reports against 5,000 unidentified and 285 named miscreants under various sections the IPC.
10. BJP MPs protests ‘harassment’ of Dalits by police after April 2 stir: On Sunday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member Udit Raj joined the ever-lengthening list of party’s Dalit MPs to go public with their unhappiness at the manner in which the BJP governments at the Centre and in states have handled Dalit-related issues.
Raj, an MP from the North West Delhi constituency, tweeted late Saturday night that “reports are pouring that those Dalits who participated in the April 2 agitation are being tortured. “And it must be stopped,” Raj, who joined the BJP weeks before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, said.
Supreme Court declines urgent hearing on a plea seeking review of the verdict on SC/ST Act:
The Supreme Court on Monday declined an urgent hearing on a plea which sought a stay and review of its recent verdict on SC/ST Act by which certain safeguards were put in place on automatic arrest of individuals. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the petition will be heard in due course of time.
Advocate Manoj Gaurkella, appearing for the employees federation said that the recent verdict passed by the apex court on March 20 was “unfair and unjust and it should be stayed”.
Cases of atrocities on Dalits continue to rise amid falling convictions: A Business Standard analysis shows there could be an objective basis to the growing perception that atrocities on Dalits are increasing while the conviction rate in these cases is falling. Numerically, there were more than 33,000 cases of atrocities on SCs in 2008, which peaked at 45,000 cases in 2014 while 40,800 cases were recorded in 2016, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data. Similarly, cases of atrocities on STs rose from 5,582 in 2008 to 11,451 in 2015 while 6,568 cases were recorded in the year 2016, according to the NCRB.