Protests Erupt Over ‘Draconian’ SC/ST Act Amendment; Bharat Bandh Across Several States
Protests Erupt Over ‘Draconian’ SC/ST Act Amendment; Bharat Bandh Across Several StatesImage for Representation Only. (Photo by Sanket Wankhade/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

General category and OBC (Other Backward Class) members have called for a nation-wide bandh, protesting against the Parliament passing a controversial amendment to the SC/ST Act. (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Prevention of Atrocities Act) that overrode an SC (Supreme Court) ruling that earlier diluted it.

The protesters from the upper castes have been targeting representatives in the Parliament and raised slogans against the government for voting ‘aye’ to the amendment. Some checks introduced by the apex court have to be re-introduced, say the protesters, and demand that the reservation be rolled back.

Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed across many parts of the state in view of the call for bandh. Special armed forces have been deployed in several districts. Schools and petrol pumps will remain shut and communication services are likely to be affected.

According to the Indian Express, on 9 August 2018, Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the amendments to the SC/ST Act brought in by the ruling government in the monsoon session of Parliament.

The amendments includes ruling out of any provision required for an anticipatory bail for a person accused of atrocities against SC/STs. Additionally, no preliminary inquiry will be required for registering a criminal case and an arrest under the law will not be subjected to any prior approval. It does not include a provision for a preliminary inquiry too.

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