One dead, 75 injured as Dalit protests turn violent, hit normal life in Uttar Pradesh; 448 people detained

Normal life was severely affected especially in western UP following widespread violent protests against alleged dilution of SC/ST Act by Supreme Court.

Published: 02nd April 2018 06:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2018 08:36 PM   |  A+A-

Dalit community members stop a train at Gaya railway station during 'Bharat Bandh' call given by Dalit organisations against the alleged 'dilution' of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes act in Gaya on Monday. | PTI

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: Normal life was severely affected especially in western UP following widespread violent protests against alleged dilution of SC/ST Act by Supreme Court of India leaving a person dead and 75 injured, including 40 police personnel, in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Around 448 persons were detained, including a former BSP MLA of Meerut, where the protestors went berserk indulging in large scale violence, arson and vandalism.

The protests, spearheaded by various Dalit organisations, turned violent mainly in western UP districts - Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Agra, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Hapur, Ghaziabad, where the protestors indulged in arson, vandalism, loot, eve teasing, stone pelting, road blockades and disruption of train traffic on a number of routes.

Amidst massive stir, UP CM Yogi Adityanath appealed the public to maintain peace in the state. The CM said: "The central and state governments are sensitive to the issues of Dalits and backwards. We are dedicated towards the welfare of backward castes, SC & ST. I appeal to all to not disturb the law and order, if at all there are any issues, you can bring them to the government’s notice and we will find the way out." The bandh was backed by Congress, BSP, CPI and Left-affiliated unions, the Janata Dal, Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and the Peasants and Workers Party have also decided to extend support to the strike.

"We have rounded up 448 persons who would be booked under different stringent sections of IPC and Destruction of Public Property Act,” said DIG (Law and Order) Praveen Kuamr while interacting with media persons. Kumar added that there were no incidents in 90 per cent of state. However, all the districts were put on high alert.

Meanwhile, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut were the worst affected districts. The only casualty was in Muzaffarnagar wherein the person lost life after receiving a gunshot fired by the protestors. Besides cars and buses, protestors also set a police station afire in Meerut.. More than 200 trouble makers were detained in Meerut alone. “We are getting cases registered against them. All conspirators and hooligans involved in anti-social activities will be booked under NSA,” said Manzil Saini, SSP Meerut.

Commanding the police action herself on the ground, Saini said: "Former BSP MLA Yogesh Verma, husband of Meerut Mayor, is the main conspirator of this violence and he has been detained.”

In Azamgarh, angry protesters pelted stones on buses on Gorakhpur-Azamgarh highway in Sagdi area damaging window panes. They also set afire two roadways buses injuring some passengers. In Gorakhpur, the protestors got the markets closed forcibly.

"The involvement of some anti-social elements has cropped up. Some of them had illicit  fire arms as well. We are conducting a detailed probe and also trying to identify people involved in spreading rumours and misleading Dailts on SC order," said DIG (L&O).

UP DGP OP Singh said more force was sought from the centre to be deployed in sensitive districts. Meanwhile, five companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and four companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in the state. Additional RAF teams have also been pushed into service in Hapur, Agra, Meerut and Ghaziabad.


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