Violence in UP as Dalit protests spread

Violence in UP as Dalit protests spread
Representation image

Lucknow: A ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by some Dalit groups against a Supreme Court ruling on the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Act triggered violence in parts of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, police said.

Protesters attacked shops, looted some of them and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut and Saharanpur, reports reaching here said.

Many cars were targeted and their window panes smashed. At some places, government property was also targeted.

Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut while a passenger bus was set on fire. Pro-reservation groups indulged in vandalism at the Muzaffarnagar railway station, stoning the Kocchi Express.

Also in Meerut, over 500 Dalit youths targeted the media and broke their cameras as they were trying to photograph the protests.

Students locked the main gate of the Chowdhary Charan Singh University campus and damaged furniture as well as electrical fittings at the campus.

In Agra, hotels were targeted at the Dhakran junction. BJP leader Vijay Shivhare, who owns a hotel Modi Palace, was also the target of Dalit ire.

In Saharanpur, many buses were attacked. In Lucknow, under the aegis of the ‘Aarakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti’, government employees worked with black bands on their arms.

A police vehicle was set on fire in Gangoh region of Saharanpur while protesters stalled traffic at the busy Delhi-Yamunotri road in the district.

The Karnataka Express was stopped near Agra. Many vehicles, including ambulances, were caught in a traffic jam because of the protests on Hathras road in Agra.

Dalit groups say the Supreme Court order has diluted the provisions of the law governing Dalits and tribes. The government says it is appealing the Supreme Court ruling.

—IANS