New Delhi: Dalit organisations across the country have called a 'Bharat Bandh' today to protest a recent Supreme Court ruling diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
Following the 'bandh' call, Punjab government has ordered suspension of public transport services across the state.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also postponed the Class 10 and 12 board examinations in the state today.
Punjab, which has the highest number of Dalit population, is on high alert.
Internet services in the state have been clamped down since 5 pm on Sunday and will remain suspended till 11 pm today.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed for calm and has requested the Army and paramilitary forces to be on stand-by.
The Bharat Bandh has already affected states of Bihar and Odisha, where protesters have blocked railway tracks.
Meanwhile, the Centre has filed a review petition on the matter in the Supreme Court, challenging its order banning automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of SCs and STs.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I wish to convey that today (Monday) we've filed a petition on the judgement 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."
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today declined an urgent hearing on a plea which sought a stay and review of verdict putting safeguards in the SC/ST Act.
All India Federation of SC/ST organisations, a conglomerate of nearly 150 employees groups, said large-scale nationwide violence has taken place in which several people have lost their lives and therefore the petition should be heard urgently.
However, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY 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".
On March 20, the apex court had introduced the provision of anticipatory bail in the Act while directing that there would be no automatic arrest on any complaint filed under the law.
The court held that there is a need to provide for safeguards against registration of FIRs and arrests under the SC/ST Act in view of instances of misuse, as observed in the last three decades.
Meanwhile, Union Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot had on Friday appealed to organisations and individuals opposing the Supreme Court's verdict on the SC/ST Act to withdraw their protests in the wake of the government's decision to file a review petition challenging the order.
Here are the live updates from 'Bharat Bandh' protest till 4:30 pm:
- 04:15 pm: Manzil Saini, SSP Meerut, said, “More than 200 people have been detained and we are getting cases registered against them. All conspirators and hooligans involved in anti-social activities will be booked under NSA. There have been no casualties so far.”
- 04:02 pm: Condemning the ongoing violence during the ‘Bharat Bandh’, BSP Chief Mayawati said, “I support the protest against the SC/ST Act. I have got to know that some people spread violence during the protests, I strongly condemn it. Our party is not behind the violence during the protests.” She added, “Strict action should be taken against those who spread violence during the protests.”
- 02:49 pm: Bus vandalized and set ablaze during protest in UP's Azamgarh
- 02:20 pm: In Uttar Pradesh, vehicles were set ablaze during protest in Muzaffarnagar
- 02:25 pm: IG Law and Order Makrand Deuskar says that four people have died in protests in Gwalior and Morena, ANI reported
- 02:10 pm: News agency ANI reported that 19 people have been injured in Gwalior of which 2 are in critical condition. Internet service have been blocked in Gwalior district till 6 am on Tuesday
- 01:14 pm: In Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior, shots were fired during protests
— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2018
- #WATCH #BharatBandh over SC/ST protection act:Shots fired during protests in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior pic.twitter.com/p8mW36qL0s
- 01:05 pm: In Gujarat, protestors stage demonstrations in Kutch's Gandhidham
- 12:50 pm: Criticising the opposition for playing politics over the issue, Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan said, “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.”
- 12:48 pm: Protests turn violent in Uttar Pradesh's Hapur, where vehicles were set on fire
- 12:39 pm: Urging political parties and groups to maintain peace, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "We have filed the review petition in Supreme Court. I appeal to all political parties and groups to maintain peace and not incite violence"
- 12:32 pm: Large number of people protest in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh
- 12:28 pm: In Uttarakhand, protestors forcibly shut down shops in Dehradun
- 12:25 am: One dead in Morena, curfew imposed in the area
- 12:20 pm: In Madhya Pradesh, curfew has been imposed in parts of Gwalior and Section 144 (prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in the area) imposed in Sagar
- 12:10 pm: Protesters resort to stone pelting in Madhya Pradesh's Bhind district
— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2018
- 12:05 pm: Protestors vandalised an apparel showroom in Rajasthan's Jaipur
- 11:58 am: Protesters block a railway track in Madhya Pradesh's Morena
- 11:55 am: Protesters stop a train in Jaipur
- 11:50 am: Protesters were thrashed by police personnel in UP's Meerut
- 11:45 am: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, "The central & 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 government's notice"
- 11:32 am: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I wish to convey that today we've filed a petition on the judgement 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"
- 11:20 am: Several people have been injured in Ranchi in Jharkhand after a clash between protesters and police
- 11:08 am: Protest turns violent in Rajasthan's Barmer, cars and property damaged
- 11:04 am: Visuals of protest from Mandi House in Delhi
- 10:50 am: Protest takes violent turn in Uttar Pradesh. Protestors damaged cars in Meerut
- 10:25 am: Protesters stop train in Punjab's Patiala
- 10:15 am: Visuals of protest from Rajasthan's Bharatpur
- 10:00 am: The protests are spreading to other cities. Visuals of protest from Agra
- 09:25 am: Protesters stop train at Forbesganj Junction in Bihar
- 09:03 am: Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "Of course, a review petition of (SC/ST protection act) should be filed and it’s the right of the Government, it’s a legal procedure. The basic question is to why they were unable to present the case properly before SC and lost, inquiry is needed"
- 08:52 am: Different groups, including CPI-ML activists, protest in Bihar's Arrah, block a train
- 07:48 am: Heavy security deployed in Amritsar, Punjab. According to estimates, the state has 32 per cent SC/ST people and is becoming the epicentre of protest
- 06:52 am: Movement of train in Odisha's Sambalpur blocked by protesters