Uttar Pradesh on boil over SC/ST Act agitation
Lucknow: The widespread violence over Supreme Court order of SC/ST Act on Monday found Uttar Pradesh government stunned as the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath summoned the state DGP OP Singh and expressed annoyance over the protests which turned violent in many districts of Western UP.
The reports of arson, firing and vandalising in Agra, Baghpat, Meerut, Hapur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Saharanpur in Western UP and other districts like Allahabad prompted the state government to deploy additional force to contain the violence. The reports reaching here at the state headquarters suggested that a police outpost was set ablaze in Meerut while the SP (city) of Agra was seen firing to quell the rampaging mobs.
Minute-to-minute updates of the entire day of violence:
- The violent protests were on in various parts of the Meerut, Hapur, Agra and Muzaffarnagar districts. The police had to open fire on the mob to contain the violence at several places.
- The protesters went on to set ablaze a tourist bus in Azamgarh district. Subsequently, police fired some shots at the agitators.
- Dalits gathered in large numbers at the Gandhi Pratima in Lucknow to protest against the Supreme Court ruling to amend the SC/ST Act.
- The protest was also joined by Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) members.
- Observing the prevailing protests, the administration has deployed five companies of PAC and four companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) in the state capital.
- Some extra RAF teams were placed in Meerut, Hapur, Agra and Ghaziabad.
- The protests turned violent in Firozabad also where the mod started pelting stones on the police forcing them to lathicharge to contain the situation. As per the sources, an old man lost his life while five others including three women got injured in the lathicharge further intensifying the anger of the protesters.
- It is worth mentioning that a Station House Officer has also suffered injuries in the stone-pelting.
- A huge group of protesters gathered at the Civil Lines Subhash crossway and marched towards the Church. The shopkeepers were forced to shut their shops and roads were blocked by the protesters.
- Five PAC units have been sent to all sensitive districts where violence has erupted. Meerut and Agra are the worst violence-hit districts so far, while Meerut, Hapur, Agra, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Noida are also ranked as sensitive districts.
- The protesters even snatched the cameras of the reporters and also thrashed them in Shahjahanpur. The entire incident was captured in another camera when the reporters were trying to cover the railway track block by the demonstrators.
- The Meerut Collectorate was also vandalised by the protesters.
- One of the protesters even sustained bullet injury in the firing by Meerut Police.
- Ann old man also lost his life in the traffic jam created by the protesters in Bijnor.
- The protesters went on to set ablaze the Bundu Katra Police Station in Agra. The police has arrested 25 demonstrators in connection with the incident.
Meanwhile, the road and train traffic was severely disrupted at many places in Western UP where the dalit organisations like Bheem army activists were indulged in heavy violence apart from attacking members of media at few places.
The Principal Secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said the strict directives have been issued to control the violence even as he refused to comment if the intelligence reports were found wanting and the state machinery was caught napping on the scale of violence.
Appealing to demonstrators not to vandalise or arson public property, he further said, "I am in contact with all the affected districts and the situation is under control right now. We have deployed extra police force in the districts to keep the situation under control."
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BJP MP Manoj Tiwari assured the Dalits not to worry as the Centre has moved a review petition against amendment in SC/ST Act in the Supreme Court. "Nobody can exploit the rights of Dalits of the country. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is trying to politicise the issue," he said, adding, "The country is moving on what the Opposition has given it in the 60 years of Congress' rule."
It may be recalled that the Bharat-bandh was called to protest against the SC order which the protestors alleged was dilution of SC/ST act. Basically starting from Punjab, the agitation soon engulfed many parts of Uttar Pradesh with major impact in NCR.
Earlier in the day, 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."
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.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, violent protests by Dalit organisations are being led across several states like Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, New Delhi, Odisha, Jharkhand to name a few.
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.
Here are the pictures of the violent protest in Uttar Pradesh