Bharat Bandh: Petrol pumps shut in Bhopal to protest against Amendment to SC/ST Act

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New Delhi:

Thousands of protesters representing the 'upper caste organisations' on Thursday took to the streets across the country to protest against the amendments in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In view of the ongoing protests and a Bharat bandh call given by some social organisations, the Madhya Pradesh police have tightened security across the state. While schools remain shut in a few districts, petrol pumps are closed all over Madhya Pradesh.

"We have decided to shut petrol pumps from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow due to security reasons as some organisations have given a call for bandh," Madhya Pradesh Petrol Pump Owners Association president Ajay Singh was quoted by PTI as saying.

Anticipating a breakdown of law and order, Section 144 has been imposed in a few districts, including Satna, Bhindh, Gwalior and Shivpuri. While in Rajasthan, 10 districts have been put on high alert with a strict vigil being maintained in all the violence-hit areas. Various social groups are also requested by concerned authorities not to take law and order into their hands during the bandh across India.

Here are the highlights on Bharat Bandh over SC/ST Amendment:

# 3: 40 pm: UP CM Yogi Adityanath says Bharat Bandh call has 'no meaning' but all have right to express.

“Bharat Bandh call has no meaning. People have their feelings. In a democracy everyone has the right to express themselves,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said when asked by reporters to comment on the ‘bandh’ call against the SC/ST Act,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was quoted by PTI as saying.

Adityanath maintains that the BJP is committed towards people's welfare and development, adding the party never play politics of caste and religion. "The law is to protect the downtrodden. The government will ensure that it will not be misused," Adityanath added.

# 11: 30 am: Madhya Pradesh | Hundreds protest in Vidisha against SC/ST Act amendments.

#MadhyaPradesh: Visuals of protest from Vidisha against SC/ST Act amendments. #BharatBandh pic.twitter.com/ZSsPhsWtX0

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 10:53 am: Bhopal: Petrol pumps to remain closed from 10 am to 4 pm today in view of Bharat Bandh.

Bhopal: Petrol pumps to remain closed from 10am to 4pm today in view of #BharatBandh. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/itRG23CgGb

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 10:42 am: Rajasthan: Shops in Kota closed in view of Bharat Bandh called by various organisations against the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act amendment.

# 10:40 am: Shops in Lucknow closed due to the nation-wide bandh called against an amendment to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

# 10:36 am: Rajasthan: Protests underway in Alwar against SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act amendment.

# 10:30 am: Bharat Bandh protests: Drones are being used for surveillance in Gwalior.

#BharatBandh protests: Drones are being used for surveillance in Gwalior. SDM Narottam Bhargavi says,“Lot of security forces deployed. We are fully ready to face any kind of situation. Section 144 imposed at several places. It is very peaceful at present.” #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/hyRumwYAha

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 10:21 am: Bihar: Protesters set fire to tyres in Mokama and block road in Badh during Bharat Bandh protests.

#Bihar: Protesters set fire to tyres in Mokama (pic 1) and block road (pic 3) in Badh during #BharatBandh protests. pic.twitter.com/RRUbZlMxRs

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 10:17 am: Rajasthan: Shops in Ajmer closed in the view of Bharat Bandh called by various organisations against amendments in SC/ST Act.

Rajasthan: Shops in Ajmer closed in the view of #BharatBandh called by various organisations against amendments in SC/ST Act. pic.twitter.com/vnUxAaNhrS

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 10:13 am: Maharashtra: Protest underway in Thane's Navghar against the amendment to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

#Maharashtra: Protest underway in Thane's Navghar against the amendment to SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. #BharatBandh pic.twitter.com/f2Cn5jrEn5

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 09:57 am: Bharat Bandh: Upper Caste Organisations stage protests from Patna's Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station. 

Visuals of #BharatBandh protest from Patna's Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station. The nationwide bandh has been called by various organisations against amendments in SC/ST Act. #Bihar pic.twitter.com/ksIVCEoewd

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 09:42 am: Bhopal: Security heightened in the city in view of Bharat Bandh against amendments in SC/ST Act.  Police says, "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".

Bhopal: Security heightened in the city in view of #BharatBandh against amendments in SC/ST Act. Police says, ”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.” #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/HVP08dnmNS

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 09:40 am: Bharat Bandh protests: Protesters stop a train in Darbhanga and Munger's Masudan. The nationwide bandh has been called by various organisations against amendments in SC/ST Act.

#BharatBandh protests: Protesters stop train in Darbhanga (pic 1) and Munger's Masudan (pic 2). The nationwide bandh has been called by various organisations against amendments in SC/ST Act. pic.twitter.com/aozyb20anD

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 09:39 am: Bhopal: High alert issued in 35 districts across the state in view of Bharat Bandh against amendments in SC/ST Act. 34 companies of security forces and 5000 security personnel deployed. Section 144 imposed in several districts.

Bhopal: High alert issued in 35 districts across the state in view of #BharatBandh against amendments in SC/ST Act. 34 companies of security forces and 5000 security personnel deployed. Section 144 imposed in several districts. #MadhyaPradesh pic.twitter.com/OLcRV9pjxy

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

# 09:38 am: People in Varanasi hold a protest during Bharat Bandh called against amendments in SC/ST Act.

People in Varanasi hold protest during #BharatBandh called against amendments in SC/ST Act pic.twitter.com/wfSq80zVI3

— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) September 6, 2018

# 09:29 am: Bihar: Markets closed, protesters stop a train in Arrah as Bharat bandh is called by upper caste groups against amendments in SC/ST Act

Bihar: Markets closed, protesters stop a train in Arrah as Bharat bandh is called by upper caste groups against amendments in SC/ST Act pic.twitter.com/LfHJsR6bNZ

— ANI (@ANI) September 6, 2018

Read | SC/ST quota in job promotions: SC reserves order on pleas to reconsider verdict

Besides, a protest march will be taken out in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, opposing the reservation system on grounds of caste and religion. Furthermore, the social groups have been pitching for a quota system based on the economic status in India.

The participating groups included the Noida Lok Manch, the Noida Entrepreneurs Association (NEA), the Brahman Samaj Seva Samiti, the Agarwal Mitra Mandal besides representatives of trade unions and resident welfare associations (RWAs).

The march in protest against the SC/ST Amendment Act will start at 10 am from Noida Stadium. The protest rally will move towards the district magistrate’s office where the organisations will hand over a memorandum to the DM, the member of parliament, raising their concerns over the SC/ST amendments issue.

Read | SC/ST Act review petition: Not against the Act, innocent shouldn't be punished, says Supreme Court

The September 6 bandh comes on the heels of a Supreme Court order that removed the strict provision of mandatory arrests under the Act. The safeguards, which were included during the Supreme Court's March 20 judgement, are -

-A preliminary inquiry may be conducted by the DSP concerned to look into the allegations.

-If an accused is a public servant, he can only be arrested with the permission of the appointing authority and in case the accused is not a public servant, prior permission of the Senior Superintendent of Police of the district would be required.

-Limit the exclusion of anticipatory bail in such cases for the protection of the fundamental right of life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The decision had triggered nationwide protests by Scheduled Castes organisations, forcing the Narendra Modi Cabinet to bring an amendment to the Act during the Monsoon Session of Parliament in a bid to overrule the SC order.

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