Bharat Bandh largely peaceful except for minor hiccups; top 10 developments

Members of Kshatriya Vikas Samith burn a tyre on a road during Bihar Bandh called over Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes reservation issue, in Patna on Tuesday. Photo: PTI
A nationwide anti-quota bandh call, given largely through social media, turned out to be a damp squib on Tuesday with virtually no impact on the ground amid heavy security arrangements.

Shops remained closed in some parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for a few hours and internet services were restricted in sensitive areas to check "rumour-mongering", but normal life remained largely unaffected, officials said.

The Centre had on Monday advised all the states to beef up security in order to prevent any untoward incident during the "Bharat bandh".

However, 127 people were arrested and dozens injured in protests against reservations in Bihar. 

A week after Dalit groups across the country held a nationwide protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, which witnessed massive violence in different parts of the country leading to the death of nine people, a Bharat Bandh against caste-based reservation in education and jobs had been called on Tuesday. 

Here are top 10 developments on today's Bharat bandh:

1. No impact of Bharat Bandh in Uttar Pradesh, says police

"There was no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state and life was normal," Deputy Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Praveen Kumar told reporters at the Home department's briefing in Lucknow.

In UP capital Lucknow, life was normal with traders opening their shops and vehicles plying on the roads.

2. Curfew in Madhya Pradesh towns

Bhind and Morena towns in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday remained curfew bound amid a Bharat Bandh called by groups demanding a rollback of caste-based reservation, officials said. Internet services were suspended in most parts of Gwalior and Chambal districts.

3. 127 protestors arrested, over a dozen injured in Bihar

A total of 127 people has been arrested by the police in Bihar for protesting against caste-based reservations in jobs and education.

Over a dozen of people were injured on Tuesday in a violent clash in Bihar during the "Bharat Bandh" called by various groups to protest against reservation policies, police said.

Supporters, mostly upper castes youths, blocked roads and forcibly enforced the nationwide shutdown in Ara town, Bhojpur district.

4. Police defuse tension in Punjab town

Tension prevailed in Punjab's industrial town of Phagwara on Tuesday as two groups came face to face during the one-day Bharat Bandh (shutdown protest), but police intervened and defused the situation.

Punjab has the highest concentration of Dalits among states in the country. They comprise 32 per cent of the state's 28 million population.

5. 30 CRPF companies sent to states

The central government has sent 30 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) -- the country's largest paramilitary force -- to various states to maintain law and order during the "Bharat Bandh". 

Home Ministry officials said 14 of these companies have been sent to Uttar Pradesh, eight to Rajasthan, and four each to Madhya Pradesh and Bihar to prevent any untoward incident during the bandh called in protest against the country's reservation policy.

6. Schools shut, internet services suspended

Schools remained shut for Classes 1- 10 today in Uttar Pradesh schools. Internet services were suspended in Jaipur and Bhopal

7. Section 144 to be imposed in Bhopal: 

Section 144 has been imposed in Bhopal today in the wake of Bharat Bandh. Around 6000 police personnel will be deployed in order to ward off any violence or untoward incidents. Although the section has been imposed in several other districts of Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior, Bhind and Morena are deemed to be the sensitive areas.

8. Supreme Court declines urgent hearing on a plea seeking review of the verdict on SC/ST Act:

The Supreme Court on Monday declined an urgent hearing on a plea which sought a stay and review of its recent verdict on SC/ST Act by which certain safeguards were put in place on the automatic arrest of individuals. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the petition will be heard in due course of time.

9. Nine killed across the states amid Bharat Bandh on April 2:

 Nine people have died across the states amid the Bharat Bandh protests raging across the nation. Out of the eight killed, six hailed Madhya Pradesh, two from Uttar Pradesh and one from Rajasthan. 

10. Supreme Court dilutes SC/ST Act:

On March 20, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no absolute bar on granting an anticipatory bail under the Act. The apex court said that to prevent the harassment of government servants it was prudent to have a high ranking officer to first ascertain whether the facts add up to demand an arrest. 

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