BHOPAL: Most private schools and petrol pumps in Madhya Pradesh remained closed Thursday, while markets and business establishments in parts of the state were shut in view of a 'Bharat Bandh' call given by some groups against the amendments in the SC/ST Act.
Police said the bandh has been observed in a peaceful manner with no reports of violence or clashes so far.
The state government has imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 in all the districts of the state ans security has been tightened as a precautionary measure.
The bandh has been called against the parliament amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after some of its provisions were read down by the Supreme Court, which was construed as its dilution.
Majority of private schools in the state remained shut, while in several districts including Bhind, Shivpuri and Gwalior, the local administration declared a holiday for educational institutions as a precautionary measure.
Petrol pumps across the state have also been kept shut.
Brahma Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Sangathan's national president Dharmendra Sharma said about 150 organisations of upper castes and OBCs are participating in the bandh.
The bandh is effective in almost the entire state, especially Katni, Vidisha, Sehore, Dewas, Indore, Gwalior, Jhabua, Chhattarpur, Mandsaur, Sagar, Ujjain and other cities, he said.
In Chhindwara, the Lok Sabha constituency of Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath, markets remained shut.
"Local residents wore black clothes in protest and business establishments remained shut," Vyapari Sangh president Mahesh Chandak said.
Chhindwara Superintendent of Police (SP) Atul Singh said, "Police were deployed in large numbers as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.
" Several people in Gwalior, Bhopal and other cities were seen sporting caps with 'Main hoon mai ka lal' (I am my mother's son) written on them.
These words apparently referred to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's past statement- 'Hamare rahte koi mai ka lal aarakshan khatam nahi kar sakta' (No one can dare to end reservation as long as I am the chief minister).
Meanwhile, Chouhan appealed to the people saying, "Madhya Pradesh is an island of peace.
I pray that we all progress and no one should try to disrupt peace in the state. I am available for everyone...for each citizen."
"The door of the chief minister and his heart is open for all. I appeal to everyone to ensure that law and order situation remains peaceful in the state and if there is anything they want to say, they should say it in a peaceful manner," he said.
Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar had told reporters Wednesday that the administration in most of the districts have clamped prohibitory orders under CrPC section 144 in view of proposed bandh Thursday.
He said 34 companies of special armed force (SAF) have been deployed in different districts 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.
The Gwalior-Chambal region in Madhya Pradesh had witnessed a large-scale violence on 2 April this year during the 'Bharat bandh' called by Dalit groups.
Now, the upper caste organisations are staging protests against the amendments to the Act.