Dalit protest spreads across India | Centre files review petition in SC
Chandigarh: Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Dalits and Tribes.
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others. But the top court denied an urgent hearing of the matter.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar informed the House that a review petition has been filed by the government.
He stated, "I want to assure that the Modi government is 100 per cent on the side of the Scheduled Castes..." Kumar said amid a ruckus. We have already filed a review petition."
The Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stated, "I wish to convey that today we've filed a petition on the judgement by the 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."
It may be mentioned that Activists from various Scheduled Castes (SC) organisations held protests in many states like Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha etc, against the dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act following a Supreme Court order.
Hundreds of protesters carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shopkeepers and other establishments in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda to shut down.
ALSO READ: Punjab on high alert ahead of SC/ST protest
Some protesters tried to stop a train in Amritsar district earlier on Monday morning but relented following talks with railway officials.
Demonstrators also entered the Jalandhar Cantt railway station, shouting slogans and burnt effigies on the tracks.
- Some highways and roads were also blocked. Traffic in and around Chandigarh was severely affected.
- Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed in Punjab.
- The final practical examinations of Class 10 and 12 of Punjab School Education Board, which were scheduled to be held on Monday, will now be held on April 11.
- The Punjab government on Sunday ordered a security clampdown across the state as a precautionary measure in view of Monday's protest.
- The state has the highest concentration of scheduled castes among states. They constitute nearly 32 per cent of the state's 2.8 crore population.
Dalits protest in Haryana
- Protests were also reported from Rohtak and other towns in neighbouring Haryana.
- Various SC organisations will submit memorandums to district officers against the dilution of the Act.
- Mobile internet services have been suspended from 5 p.m. on Sunday till Monday evening.
Noting that the Central government had already announced its decision to file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appealed to the SC/ST community to defer its protest till the final decision on the petition comes.
Dalit protest in Uttar Pradesh
- Violence has reportedly erupted in Agra during the stir.
- Protesters were seen damaging public and private properties.
- Many motorcycles were torched and mediapersons attacked in Meerut.
- Shobhapur police station set on fire by protesters in Meerut district.
- Protesters block Meerut-Haridwar highway.
- Bikes were torched in Agra and some buses vandalised in Saharanpur.
- Protestors were thrashed brutally by the police officers in meerut as they took to streets to protest against SC/ST act.
- Protesters block Delhi-Yamunotri highway in Shamli, Uttar Pradesh
- Protests turn violent as agitators overturn vehicles, carts in Agra .
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also urged the protesters to maintain calm and peace. He also stated that the central government has been doing everything possible.
Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party for oppressing the Dalits, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has also come forward in the support of the protestors. He showed his support for the happenings on his twitter handle.
Dalits protest in Rajasthan
- Rajasthan’s Barmer witnessed violent protests as cars and property have been damaged.
- Women were seen protesting in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
Dalits protest in New Delhi:
- Protests were being organised in the mandi house of New Delhi.
- Many protesters were shouting the slogans of 'Jai Bhim'.
- Roads have been blocked near Mandi House and Laxmi Nagar metro station in Delhi.
Dalits protest in Bihar
- Agitators turn violent, attack cars plying on the road.
- People were caught on camera hitting the cars with lathis.
- Protesters have blocked the streets and are not allowing vehicles to move. Protesters, however, claim that they were asking the vehicles to move so that an ambulance could pass.
- They also stopped a train at Forbesganj Junction.
- Earlier, protesters in Bihar's Arrah blocked a train and different groups including CPIML activists are part of protests.
It may be also mentioned that, on March 20, the Supreme Court ruled that the arrest of an accused under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act was not mandatory and recourse to coercive action would be only after a preliminary inquiry and sanction by the competent authority.
"There was no absolute bar against grant of anticipatory bail in cases under the Atrocities Act if no prima facie case is made out or where on judicial scrutiny the complaint is found to be prima facie mala fide," the apex court stated.