NEW DELHI: The country-wide strike call given against the Scheduled Tribes/Scheduled Caste (SC/ST) Act on Monday left 8 dead in its wake as violent protests broke out across the country today.
Six people have died in Gwalior, Morena and Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, one person has died due to police firing in Alwar, Rajasthan, and one person has died in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, as protests against the Supreme Court’s judgment on SC/ST act turned violent in most of the northern states.
Protestors were seen openly brandishing swords on streets in Punjab’s Firozpur, while cars in UP were set ablaze. The agitation also reached the capital as angry Dalits blocked roads in Connaught Place. A few protesters were detained by Delhi police.
Dalits have come out in heavy number across the country to protest against the dilution of the SC/ST Act by the Supreme Court.
In the face of stiff pressure from both within the NDA and opposition, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government does not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision and has filed a strong, comprehensive review petition against the apex court’s order.
Meanwhile , the central government on Monday moved the Supreme Court to seek recall of its judgment that ruled that there would be no automatic arrest of an accused following a complaint moved under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tried to reassure the Dalits that the government has filed a “comprehensive” petition against the order that is behind the protests sweeping the country and have led to the death of at least eight people.
The petition stated that the SC judgment adversely affects a substantial portion of the population and runs in contrary to the policy of the Parliament.
“The dilution of law will give liberty to the accused to misuse it and terrorize the victims and also prevent investigation,” it said, adding that it would deprive the members of SC/ST community rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution.
The apex court, however, declined urgent hearing on a writ petition filed by All India Federation of SC/ST organisations against the verdict claiming that the entire nation has witnessed large-scale violence during the ‘Bharat Bandh’. The court said the plea would be listed and heard in due course.