Dalit protests: MHA rushes 1,700 personnel to 4 states

Clashes between police and protesters during a nationwide bandh called by Dalit outfits, which claimed seven lives on Monday, prompted the Centre to rush 1,700 anti-riot police personnel to four states, including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the states to take all preventive measures and maintain public order, while ensuring the safety of life and property, as protests erupted across the country over a Supreme Court order that diluted the law dealing with atrocities against scheduled castes and tribes.

Fifteen companies or 1,700 personnel of Rapid Action Force were rushed to UP (8 companies), MP (4) and Rajasthan (3). Two companies of the BSF were sent to Punjab. At least five persons were killed in Madhya Pradesh, while one person each lost their lives in protests in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Appealing for peace, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was committed to ensuring welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and guaranteeing them full protection under the law.

"I am deeply pained by the acts of violence and loss of precious lives in some parts of the country today during protests in context of the Act. I appeal to all political parties to help in maintaining harmony among different sections of the society. I also appeal to the people not to fall prey to rumours and false propaganda unleashed by mischievous elements," he said.

Violent protests

The MHA said it was closely monitoring the situation and was in constant touch with the affected states after violent protests erupted in some places.

Curfew was imposed in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh. Violent protests were also reported from several parts of Uttar Pradesh, including Azamgarh, Agra, Hapur and Meerut in western UP.

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