Bhopal: Ahead of the call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ on September 6 that was announced by several minority rights organisations in Madhya Pradesh, the government has stepped up security in various parts of the state. This comes even as protests against amendments in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act continue across the state.
Some organisations have given a call for 'Bharat bandh' against the SC/ST Amendment Bill passed in the Parliament last month.
The Madhya Pradesh administration has imposed Section 144 under CrPC in four districts — Morena, Shivpuri and Bhind, all three in Gwalior-Chambal region, as well as in Ashok Nagar district in view of the proposed bandh.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday ordered district collectors and SPs to keep a close watch on the law and order situation in their respective areas to make sure peace isn’t disrupted at any cost on Thursday. Chouhan has asked officers to communicate with social workers and public representatives.
Senior officers said preventive orders have been issued in some districts while instructions have been issued to suspend internet services as and when it is needed, but no formal order has been passed to cut off the internet as of now.
Gwalior-Chambal region, one of the sensitive areas, had witnessed a large-scale violence on April 2 this year during the 'bharat bandh' called by Dalit groups.
Makrand Deuskar, Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) told reporters, "Police headquarters have alerted all the superintendents of police in view of proposed bandh on September 6."
He said the police force allotted to the districts on the occasion of Krishna Janmashtami on Monday, would continue to remain deployed.
Madhya Pradesh has witnessed protests against the ruling party leaders at various places in the past few days.
"In view of proposed Bharat Bandh on September 6, the prohibitive orders under CrPC section 144 have been imposed in the district," Bhind District Collector Ashish Gupta said in a press note.
"It is necessary to impose section 144 this time as the law and order situation in the district was disturbed on April 2 this year when some organisations had given the call of 'Bharat bandh'," he said.
The collectors in Shivpuri and Morena districts have also imposed prohibitive orders under CrPC section 144. Brahma Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Sangathan's national president Dharmendra Sharma said that about 150 organisations of upper castes and OBCs would participate in the Bharat bandh against the amendments in SC/ST Act.
Joint Director, Dept of Higher Education in Gwalior has ordered schools and colleges to remain closed on Thursday.
"We will protest peacefully on September 6. Through this protest, we will demand withdrawal of this black law. All the sections except SC/ST are affected due to this amendment.
We will also write letters to all MPs of the country," Sharma said.
Former Union Minister and senior BJP OBC leader Prahlad Patel expressed his displasure over the protests.
"The role of people from the OBC community has become all the more important in this scenario. For centuries, the OBCs have been acted as a bridge between upper castes and scheduled castes and they will continue to play this role actively in future," he said.
Protests have been going on against the amendments in SC/ST Bill in parts of the state since the past one week.
The protesters staged a demonstration outside the bungalows of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar at Gwalior and Member of Parliament (MP) Bhagirath Prasad at Bhind. The protesters also staged a demonstration at Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya's bungalow at Gwalior.
The protesters also showed black flags to Union ministers Thawar Chand Gehlot and M J Akbar at Guna and Vidisha respectively. Several other protests were also organised across the state.
Earlier this year, the apex court had removed the strict provision of mandatory arrests under the Act. This decision had triggered nationwide protests by Scheduled Castes organisations, forcing the Centre to bring an amendment to the Act during the Monsoon Session to overrule the SC order.
(With PTI inputs)