Bharat Bandh: Protests escalate in Bihar and MP
Protests as part of today's Bharat Bandh are escalating, especially in parts of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Protesters have stopped trains in Bihar's Darbhanga and Mungar, and high-alerts have been issued in 35 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Meanwhile, protests have also been reported from other states. The Bharat Bandh has been called against an amendment to the SC/ST Act. Here are the details.
Backstory: The dilution of the SC/ST Act and its amendment
On March 20, the Supreme Court barred automatic arrest and registration of cases in alleged cases of harassment of SCs and STs under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989. The dilution of the act led to widespread protests by Dalit group across the country, prompting the Centre to challenge, and ultimate reverse the SC order, bringing the Act back to its original form.
Today's Bharat Bandh has been called by upper caste groups
Today's Bharat Bandh, on the other hand, has been called by upper caste and OBC organizations, against the Centre's decision to restore the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 to its original form. Reportedly, around 150 upper caste organizations from across the country are taking part in today's Bharat Bandh, and services have been disrupted in various parts of the country.
Thousands of security forces have been deployed in Madhya Pradesh
In Madhya Pradesh, 35 districts are on high-alert and Section 144 of the CrPc has been imposed in various parts of the state. 34 companies of security forces, along with 5,000 personnel have been deployed, in a bid to avoid any violence and maintain public order. Schools and petrol pumps have been shut, and internet services are likely to be affected too.
Security forces have been deployed in MP
Bhopal: High alert issued in 35 districts across the state in view of #BharatBandh against amendments in SC/ST Act. 34 companies of security forces and 5000 security personnel deployed. Section 144 imposed in several districts. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/OLcRV9pjxy— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
Authorities are using drones for surveillance in Gwalior
#BharatBandh protests: Drones are being used for surveillance in Gwalior. SDM Narottam Bhargavi says,“Lot of security forces deployed. We are fully ready to face any kind of situation. Section 144 imposed at several places. It is very peaceful at present.” #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/hyRumwYAha— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018
Protests in Bihar are escalating, other states observing Bandh too
Madhya Pradesh apart, reports of protests are pouring in from various states, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. While services have been disrupted and shops have been closed in these states, protests in Bihar are reportedly escalating with protesters blocking trains and setting tyres on fire. However, violent clashes, deaths, or injuries have not been reported till now.