Dalit-protests: One dead in violence, Center files review-petition in SC
The Center has filed a review petition in the SC against the court's recent order on the SC/ST Atrocities Act. Meanwhile, violence broke out at various places including Ranchi (Jharkhand), Barmer (Rajasthan) and Meerut (UP) as Dalits protested the "dilution" of the Act. One person reportedly died in Morena (MP). Establishments remained closed in Kerala, Punjab and Bihar, and buses and trains were stopped.
Days ago, the SC tightened conditions under SC/ST Atrocities Act
On March 20, the SC 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. Arrest of government servants now needs prior sanction, and private citizens can only be arrested after inquiry. The purpose, it said, was to protect honest public servants from being blackmailed with false cases.
In various places, protesters clash with police, vandalize property
Dalit groups, who allege the "dilution" of the Act will increase caste-based violence, protested in different states. Violence broke out in Ranchi, Meerut, Barmer, Dehradun, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot and elsewhere. Curfew was imposed in Morena and Gwalior. There was a complete shutdown in Jalandhar, Phagwara, and other places. Highways and trains were blocked in Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur, Patiala, Sambalpur and more places.
CBSE Board exams postponed in Punjab due to bandh
In Punjab, Dalit groups declared a Bharat Bandh. The state government has declared all schools shut. The CBSE too postponed Class 10 and 12 exams scheduled for today. Mobile services have been suspended till 11pm today. Public transport including buses and taxis won't ply.
For a change, government, opposition stand on one side
The government's review petition, filed by the Social Justice Ministry, is expected to argue that the SC order will weaken the act and reduce the fear of law, leading to more violations. Congress, which has led opposition parties against the SC order, has announced a demonstration on April 4 at Parliament Street. During 2015-2016, crimes against Dalits increased by 5.5%, from 38,670 to 40,801.