High alert has been issued in 35 districts across Madhya Pradesh in view of the ongoing Bharat Bandh against the Parliament passing an amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act that overruled Supreme Court's earlier order of diluting it. Apart from that, 34 companies of security forces and 5,000 security personnel have been deployed. Section 144 has also imposed in several districts across Madhya Pradesh, according to ANI reports.
Police told ANI, ”Forces have been divided judiciously across the districts. It has been peaceful till now. Nobody can force anyone to be a part of the bandh.”
Earlier, the members, belonging to upper caste groups, had forced the government to impose Section 144 in Satna, Bhind, Shivpuri, Gwalior, and other districts.
The March 20 judgment
In a bid to check the misuse of the SC/ST Act, the Supreme Court had on March 20 ruled that preliminary enquiry in a case under the Atrocities Act would be done by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) to ensure the allegations are not frivolous, and to avoid the false implication of an innocent person.
The court also held that a government official could not be prosecuted on the mere allegation of committing an offence under the Act without the sanction of the appointing authority.
Here are the top developments of the ongoing protest:
1. Schools and petrol pumps will remain shut today in Gwalior and across districts.
2. Markets are now closed, protesters stop a train in Arrah in Bihar
3. Members taking part in the protest also stop a train in Darbhanga and Munger's Masudan, Bihar.
4. Protests spread to Varanasi as several members take part in the nationwide Bharat Bandh.
5. Protests spread across nation: Shops in Ajmer, Rajasthan shut down. Navghar, Maharashtra too hit
Inputs from agencies