Barring stray incidents, Tuesday’s Bharat bandh, reportedly called by groups opposed to caste-based reservation and eight days after a similar protest by Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) outfits, passed off peacefully across the country.
In Madhya Pradesh, where seven people had lost their lives during the bandh on April 2, solitary incidents were reported from Seedhi town, in the tribal district of the same name.
In Bihar, there were reports of protests on tracks at some places, leading to trains being blocked. There were also reports of violence in Arrah town in Bhojpur district.
While no political party backed Tuesday’s bandh, BJP leader in Arrah, Surendra Singh, husband of former Barharwa (Bhojpur) MLA Asha Devi, told The Indian Express, “Although we have not joined the protests, we extend our moral support. I wonder why politicians are fighting shy of coming out even when they support anti-reservation protests in private.”
According to PTI, of 100 people detained across Bihar, 70 were from Arrah.
In Seedhi, MP, a group of people, including advocates, tried to take out an anti-reservation rally, which led to confrontation with the police because the administration had not given permission for rallies. A few people, including three police personnel, were injured in stone-pelting. The police lobbed teargas shells to disperse the crowd.
Gwalior, Bhind and Morena districts, which bore the brunt of violence on April 2, did not report any untoward incident as the administration had enforced prohibitory orders and suspended internet services.
Gwalior collector Rahul Jain said prohibitory orders will remain in force for the next few days. Three people had died in Gwalior district on April 2.
In Bhind, where four people had died, collector Ilayaraja T said curfew was relaxed in the town from 6 pm since no untoward incident was reported.
The situation was peaceful in Rajasthan as well, where one person had died on April 2, barring stray incidents. “The situation in the state remained peaceful apart from districts such as Sikar, Alwar and Jaipur, which were 60-70 per cent affected by the bandh. Nineteen people were arrested in Jaipur,” Additional DGP (law and order) N R K Reddy said.
Reddy said there were attempts to create trouble in Baran district but the tension was quelled and one person was arrested. “Internet services remained suspended in Jaipur and Sikar and we had provided the power of imposing (prohibitory orders under) Section 144 to various district administrations. We had to impose Section 144 in some areas — such as Hindaun in Karauli district, and other places in eastern Rajasthan,” he said.
In Odisha, some demonstrations were held in Nuapada district by members of SC/ST community opposing the bandh. Puri saw demonstrations by members of Odisha Baidhik Brahman Parishad, who demanded reforms in reservations, and a lawyers’ association in Dhenkanal participated in anti-quota protests.