New Delhi: As protests against dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act spread to many parts of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath assured that the interest of backward communities remains paramount.
Adityanath appealed for peace after violence hit many areas of Uttar Pradesh, including Agra. "The central and state governments are dedicated towards the welfare of backward castes, SC & ST. I appeal to all to not disturb the law and order," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. "If at all there are any issues, you can bring them to the government's notice."
A Bharat Bandh has been called across the country after the Supreme Court suggested modifications to the SC/ST Act. In Agra, the protest turned violent when local cops reportedly tried to contain a large group. Unruly scenes of vandalism and sloganeering followed. Incidents of cars and buses being torched were reported from Meerut and Hapur as well.
Violence also erupted in several other parts of the country. CBSE exams were put off in Punjab, long-distance trains were halted in Bihar and protestors took to the streets in Delhi - armed with flags and banners.
While the government has filed a review petition, there has been no let-up in the intensity of the protests.