CHANDIGARH: In the wake of Bharat Bandh on Monday, Punjab government has declared closure of all educational institutions and suspension of mobile Internet services in the state. Several Dalit organisations have called for a Bharat Bandh on April 2 against the amendment under the SC/ST Act.
Punjab Chief Secretary Karan A Singh has, meanwhile, written to Secreet Department of Defence, Government of India saying, "Army in Punjab to remain ready for any eventuality as state govt may need their assistance in maintaining law and order during bandh called by several Dalit organisations against amendment of SC/ST Act."
As many as 4000 police personnel along with one company of Rapid Action Force will be deployed on Monday and strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence. "4000 police personnel along with one company of Rapid Action Force to be deployed tomorrow. Strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence," Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana told ANI.
4000 police personnel along with one company of Rapid Action Force to be deployed tomorrow. Strict action will be taken against those who indulge in violence: Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana over bandh called by several Dalit organisations in Punjab tomorrow pic.twitter.com/9bSr548no1
— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2018
The bandh has reportedly been called by the groups against dilution of Scheduled Castes-Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act provisions and alleged arbitrary arrests made under the same.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Dalit group Sanvidhaan Bachao Sangharash Committee called for the bandh. The call was later supported by All India Adi Dharam Mission and All India Adi Dharam Sadhu Samaj, reported The Times of India.
The government has, however, made an appeal to the bodies to call off the Bharat Bandh. Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot had said that the Narendra Modi government was committed to the welfare of members of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe.
He had also said that the government would file a review petition on the decision of the Supreme Court with regard to the Act. The minister was also quoted as saying by some reports that he would take up the matter with the Ministry of Finance.
The Supreme Court had ruled that before filing any case of atrocities on members of SC and ST community, a probe by DSP-level officer would be mandatory. A prior permission would also be needed from senior officials before arresting any government official in such cases. The court had observed that many fake cases were filed under the Act. The decision was taken by the Supreme Court while hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra government.