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Punjab, Haryana and Himachal on standstill as protests by Dalits against Supreme Court order on the SC/ST Act

The India-Pakistan bus service was also disrupted. The Lahore-bound bus from Delhi was stranded at Sirhind and the Delhi-bound bus from Lahore got stuck at Amritsar.

Published: 02nd April 2018 04:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2018 04:03 PM   |  A+A-

Protesters stop train in Punjab's Patiala during Bharat Bandh. | ANI twitter Photo

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were on a standstill after the Dalits protested at many places against the Supreme Court’s order diluting the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) ACT, as scheduled caste organizations earlier called for a Bharat Bandh.

The India-Pakistan bus service was also disrupted. The Lahore-bound bus from Delhi was stranded at Sirhind and the Delhi-bound bus from Lahore got stuck at Amritsar.

Hundreds of protestors, carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shops to shut in prominent Punjab cities like Patiala, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Barnala, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Moga, Sangrur, Ludhiana and Bathinda. 

The protests also happened in Chandigarh, with protesters blocking highways and arterial roads.  

Public transport is off the road and educational institutions remained closed. The internet service has been suspended. The state has the highest Scheduled Caste population in the country, around 35 per cent .

The Patiala-Chandigarh highway was blocked, while Scheduled Caste members gathered near Fountain Chowk and Budha Dal Complex in Patiala. The shops in the city's main bazaars were closed. 

In Ferozepur, shops were damaged in the Cantonment area. While in Jalandhar, all important intersections were closed. 

The railway track was blocked at Ram Nagar crossing. The Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road was blocked at Nasrala. A protest march was taken at Kapurthala, with the protesters indulging in stone-pelting at the Dominos’ Ramneek Nagar outlet. There was a complete shutdown Moga. In Sangrur and Barnala districts, almost all towns were closed.

In Ludhiana, factory workers on way to work were stopped by protesters and told to go back. All shops and markets were shut.

Tension prevailed in Bathinda as the protest turned violent with two people getting injured in a clash between the protesters and shopkeepers near Mehna Chowk. 

The trouble broke out when a group of protesters were forcing traders in Mata Rani Gali to shut their shops, to which the latters resisted. The protesters then damaged a two-wheeler parked outside one of the shops. It led to a heated argument, after which the two groups entered into a confrontation, leading to head injuries to two people.

Brandishing lathis protesters took out a protest march in Panchkula in neighbouring Haryana. In Panipat, the Insar market was closed and traffic was disrupted as the protests occurred on NH-1. 

In Karnal, activists forced traders to close their shops. The protests were also witnessed at Sonepat, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurushetra, Faridabad and Rohtak. In Hisar, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar attended the chaukidar convention as Dalits resorted to a demonstration, leading to a complete bandh in the town.

While neighbouring hill state of Himachal Pradesh in it’s capital Shimla, the SC organisations blocked Cart Road for a while causing inconvenience to the commuters.

Meanwhile, the CBSE postponed Class 12 and Class 10 examinations scheduled to be held on Monday in Punjab at the request of the state government in view of the Bharat Bandh.

“Taking cognisance of the letter of the director general (school education), the CBSE decided to postpone all Class 12 and 10 examinations scheduled for April 2 in Punjab,” it stated in a statement.

The state education department said the final practical examinations of Classes 10 and 12 of the Punjab School Education Board will be conducted on April 11 instead of today.


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