As Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups across north and central India turned intense the Centre has rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Many cities in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar witnessed violent protests and clashes between the agitators and police personnel.
Two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been sent to Meerut and one company each to Agra and Hapur (all in UP), a home ministry official said. A company of RAF comprises around 100 personnel.
Two companies each of the RAF have been sent to Bhopal and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to assist the state administration in tackling the situation.
Meanwhile, curfew has been imposed in parts of Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh after four deaths were reported in the state on Monday. Several other persons were reported to be injured as well.
Violence was also reported from many districts of Uttar Pradesh including Azamgarh where protesters torched two state-run buses, injuring several passengers. Protests turned violent in Agra, Hapur, Meerut in western UP.
Also, more than 100 passenger and mail train services were affected as protesters squatted on the tracks to enforce an all-India shutdown. However, by the evening officials claimed that the routes were largely restored.
The protesters blocked rail and road traffic and resorted to violence in Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. The railways said across its zones, the protesters started gathering at the rail yards since early morning.
The services were disrupted when a mob arrived at the Ghaziabad yard around 10 am, Northern Railway officials said.
Many trains, including the Saptakranti Express, Utkal Express, Gatiman Express, the Bhubaneswar and Ranchi Rajdhani and the Kanpur Shatabdi, were stopped ahead of Ghaziabad at Meerut and Modinagar, Northern Railway officials said.
The Supreme Court had, on March 20, in its ruling ordered that government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens, too, should be arrested only after an inquiry under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
(With inputs from PTI)