Bharat Bandh witnessed violence in Bihar’s Ara district. More than a dozen people were injured, the police said. In Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzafffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts, hundreds of men blocked roads, halted trains and forcibly closed markets.-Sabrang
NEW DELHI: Over a dozen of people were injured in clashes in Bihar as some groups tried to enforce a Bharat Bandh to protest reservation in jobs and education. Supporters of the strike, mostly from upper castes, blocked roads and railway tracks and forced markets to shut down in nearly half-a-dozen districts. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh – three other states that witnessed violence last week during a bandh call by Dalit groups – security was strengthened following an advisory from the Union home ministry. In some places, prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were imposed and cellphone internet services were suspended.
Here are the Top 10 updates on the Bharat Bandh called by anti-reservation groups:
- In Bihar’s Ara town, around 1000 km from state capital Patna, more than a dozen people were injured in clashes between Bharat Bandh supporters and a pro-reservation group, comprising Dalits and backward castes, reported news agency IANS, quoting a police officer. Additional security has been deployed in the town.
- In Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzafffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts, hundreds of men blocked roads, halted trains and forcibly closed markets.
- In Uttar Pradesh, internet services were suspended in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Hapur. In Firozabad district, the administration asked schools to remain closed as a precautionary measure. Extra security forces were deployed in some districts, sources said.
- In Uttarakhand, prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were imposed in Nainital. The district administration also banned processions and protests, saying “strict action will be taken against law breakers”.
- Madhya Pradesh — where six people died during last week’s Bharat Bandh — was placed under tight security blanket. Large gatherings were banned by the police in state capital Bhopal till 6 pm.
- In various towns of Rajasthan – another state that saw widespread violence last week — the state government suspended cellphone internet and imposed prohibitory orders. Extra security was put in place for state capital Jaipur, Alwar, where a man died last week, and Bharatpur. The police said they held meetings with community liaison groups and traders.
- Last evening, the Union home ministry advised all states to strengthen securityafter intelligence inputs regarding today’s Bharat bandh. While calls for the strike were circulated on social media, no group came forward to make it official. The ministry advisory said district magistrates and police chiefs will be held personally responsible for any violence in areas under their control.
- On April 2, widespread violence flared up across five states as Dalit groups called for a Bharat bandh in protest against a Supreme Court order, which, they said, weakened a law meant for their protection.
- Violence was reported from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jharkhand. Nearly a dozen people died — six of them in Madhya Pradesh, two in Uttar Pradesh and one in Rajasthan.
- The Centre filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, asking it to review its order regarding the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and put a freeze on it meanwhile. The court, however, refused to put on hold its order, which stopped the immediate arrest of anyone accused under the law, saying its aim was to “protect innocents”.