Bharat Bandh hits life in parts of north India, sporadic clashes reported

New Delhi: The Bharat Bandh called by various upper caste organizations on September 6 to protest the restoration of the stringent provisions of the SC/ST act passed off without any major incident of violence though normal life was hit in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan amid sporadic clashes in various places.
In Bihar, the protesters tried to block road and railway traffic while in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, markets were closed in certain towns.
Police had been put on high alert in these states as there was widespread violence during the Bharat Bandh called by the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe organizations in April to protest against the Supreme Court ruling, introducing a mechanism to register cases on complaints of discrimination and abuse filed by the SC and STs.
Several organizations representing upper castes have been protesting since Parliament passed a law to nullify the SC order and called for a shutdown on Thursday.
Normal life was hit in various parts of Bihar and train services were briefly affected in the state capital and Rajgir town.
Supporters of the shutdown, owing allegiance to several less-known organizations, staged a demonstration in front of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state headquarters raising slogans against the “betrayal by the very party we have been voting for”. There were also reports of blockades from several districts of the state, police said, but no untoward incident was reported.
In Uttar Pradesh, six policemen were injured in the agitation called by some upper-caste groups, but life remained largely normal across the state.
In Ballia, legislators of the ruling BJP came out in open to support the bandh. “”Upper caste people made me the MLA and not Muslims and Dalits. If my upper-caste supporters ask me, I can also resign (from my seat) for their sake,” Bairia legislator Surendra Singh said.
In Madhya Pradesh, the bandh passed off peacefully in the state without any major incident of violence even though the markets, schools and colleges remaining closed in most of the big cities and towns, said inspector general (intelligence) Makrand Deouskar.
In Ujjain, there was there was minor clash between two groups while in Shahdol district, police averted a clash between two opposing groups. In Rewa, police carried out a cane charge to disperse a violent crowd. An attempt was made by some people to stop buses and trains from plying in Jabalpur, but it was foiled by the police.
In Rajasthan, the bandh had an impact in several places with shops closed, educational institutions declaring a holiday and public transport off the roads. There were some incidents of clashes between the two opposing groups and in some places, few people were taken into preventive custody, police said.

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