Protesting for the Sake of Protesting
Nation has gone through yet another bandh across the country called by upper caste outfits this time against caste-based reservations in education and employment. The Bandh has been called by outfits such as Ranveer Sena to protest against the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit organizations on April 2, which had turned violent in certain parts of the country.
On April 2, protests had broken out across India against the alleged dilution of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 by the Supreme Court. Since then, Dalit outfits have been protesting the "unfair targeting" of Dalits after the April 2 protests turned violent. Four BJP MPs from UP have written to the Prime Minister, claiming that cops were targeting Dalits. Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad Raavan has launched a hunger strike from Saharanpur district jail, where he is lodged under the National Security Act.
In Bihar, over a dozen people were injured in a clash between Bandh supporters and a pro-reservation group in Ara town in Bhojpur district. Bandh supporters, mostly upper castes youths, reportedly blocked roads and forcibly enforced the shutdown.
During the April 2 protests, several parts of Bihar had witnessed sporadic violence. Two people, including a newborn baby, had died during the protests. Police and administration are on standby as the Bharat Bandh is all set to begin on Tuesday.
Madhya Pradesh bore the brunt of the April 2 violence leading to the death of eight people and injuries to scores, including 54 policemen. Currently, social media messages are being monitored and people have been warned that those spreading hate messages would be booked under Section 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. District officials have also imposed prohibitory orders in Bhopal along with Section 144 in Sagar district.
In various districts and cities of Rajasthan, section 144 has also been imposed and in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, schools for students of classes I to IX remained closed. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued an advisory to all states asking them to make necessary arrangements and issue prohibitory orders, if necessary. It had said district magistrates and superintendents of police would be personally held responsible for any violence in their areas of jurisdiction.
The missive came a week after a Bharat Bandh called by groups opposing alleged dilution of SCs/STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a Supreme Court order saw massive violence in different parts of the country leading to the death of about a dozen people.
Security has been beefed up, prohibitory orders issued, Internet suspended and schools shut in various parts of the country as precautionary steps for Bharat Bandh. Even after so many protests, what did India gain after all? Public has the right to showcase their disapproval or disagreement regarding various issues but, it should be no way disturbing the order of public life. Those outfits that are protesting and interrupting public life must understand their right to protest is not above other individual’s right to live with peace in this country.
By: Thamanna Abdul Latheef C