Bharat Bandh : Protesters turn violent as Dalits protest over SC/ST Act

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Violent protests are being reported from areas like Morena in Madhya Pradesh, Jaipur and other areas. Likewise, prohibitory orders were also placed in Sagar as a precautionary measure as protests started turning violent. There was stone pelting in several places.

The protesters went on to set ablaze a tourist bus in Azamgarh district. Pathak was allegedly shot during protests by agitators and he succumbed to injuries enroute to hospital, he said.

A delegation of dalit lawmakers is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today to apprise him of the issues concerning the SCs and STs, including the unhappiness among the community over the apex court verdict on SC/ST Act.

The protest was also joined by Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) members.

Almost 20 people from Ajmer and 10 from Jaipur were detained after protesters damaged public property, they said.

"The pentup anger at large number of attacks on Dalits by Hindutva groups including murders, vandalising Ambedkar statues resulted in angry militant protests". There are reports of a protester dying of gunshot wounds in firing in Bhind district's Lahar.

Demonstrators also entered the Jalandhar Cantt railway station, shouting slogans and burnt effigies on the tracks.

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In Punjab, angry protesters blocked Pathankot-Amritsar national highway and stopped trains in Firozpur and Patiala. The police has arrested 25 demonstrators in connection with the incident.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi too has extended his support to the Bharat Bandh call by Dalit organizations. Almost 30 people - 20 from Ajmer and 10 from Jaipur - detained for damaging public property in Rajasthan. "We have deployed extra police force in the districts to keep the situation under control". He accused the Opposition Congress of doing politics in the name of Dalit rights.

The next date of the examinations in Punjab will be announced soon by the board, it added. "We have sounded a high-alert in the state", DIG, Law and Order, Praveen Kumar told reporters. "A review petition must be moved".

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has appealed for peace, while Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was not a party to the SC decision on the SC/ST Act and "respectfully" did not agree with its reasoning behind the verdict.

While hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra Government, the Supreme Court made an observation that many fake cases were being registered under the Act.

Protesters were seen damaging public and private properties.

Dozens of vehicles were torched in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut. As of now, 448 persons have been detained in different districts. The bench had also diluted a stringent clause of the Act by ruling that a preliminary inquiry in a case filed under various sections of the said law would be conducted by a deputy superintendent of police rank official to ensure the allegations are not frivolous so that "false implication" of an innocent individual may be avoided. He also stated that the central government has been doing everything possible. Trouble was also reported in the capital New Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar states. The protests took place even after the Centre confirmed filing a review petition with the Supreme Court over its directive on the SC/ST Act. It also held that a court can grant a pre-bail arrest (anticipatory bail) if it, prima facie, finds the complaint is an abuse of the law, false, motivated and meant to blackmail or harass a person.

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