New Delhi/Patna: Union minister of state for HRD Upendra Kushwaha was manhandled and over a dozen people were injured in the violent clashes between supporters of the Bharat bandh and a pro-reservation group comprising OBCs and Dalits on Tuesday.
Kushwaha was manhandled by anti-reservation protesters in Bihar's Hajipur town while he was on his way to Champaran, where the 100th anniversary of Champaran Satyagraha was to be honoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by ushering in 'Swachhagraha'. Kushwaha, who hails from OBC community, is the president of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, which is an ally of the BJP.
In Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzafffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura, Nawada and Darbhanga, hundreds of men blocked roads, halted trains and forcibly closed markets.
In Uttar Pradesh, internet services were suspended in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Hapur. In Firozabad district, the administration asked schools to remain closed as a precautionary measure. Extra security forces were deployed in some districts, sources said.
Reports coming from Madhya Pradesh said there were attempts to block trains, while some schools suspended their bus services in Bhopal. Madhya Pradesh was the worst hit during the April 2 nationwide bandh called by Dalit groups with at least eight people being killed in violent protests
Officials in MP said the call for today's bandh was given on social media and no organisation had come forward so far to claim responsibility for it. The Bharat Bandh, second in the ongoing month, was called against caste-based reservation in education and jobs.
In Rajasthan, which was also hit badly during the Dalit-convened bandh, the state government has issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC and blocked mobile internet services in the state capital as precautionary measure
The police chiefs and collectors of districts across the state have been asked to take prompt action if any nuisance is created, officials in Jaipur said
Tuesday's anti-quota protest came a week after a nationwide protest by Dalit groups against "dilution" of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, entailing massive violence in different parts of the country and leading to the death of nine people.
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