Madhya Pradesh upper castes' protest against SC/ST Act largely peaceful; Section 144 imposed, mobile internet shut down

Karishma | Sep 5, 2018 | 4 min read


Karishma K/Team 101Reporters

Indore: Several districts across Madhya Pradesh observed a complete shutdown on Thursday, September 6, in support of protests called by various upper caste outfits against the amendments to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (POA) Act passed in the Parliament in July, 2018.

As per the amendments made by the Apex court, which is the primary driving force behind the bandh, unlike earlier, an initial enquiry will not be conducted before registering an FIR against the accused, and the officer on duty does not need to take prior approval from his/her superior before arresting a perpetrator. Moreover, Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not apply in these cases.

As a response to this, a bandh was called by upper caste outfits like SAPAKS, Rajput Karni Sena and others. Districts across Madhya Pradesh diligently followed the strike, as schools, petrol pumps, colleges and markets remained shut. The businesses that remained opened were asked to down their shutters by noon. Residents in Ratlam told Firstpost that they were unable to get even a cup of tea due to the strike.

To prevent a situation like the violent clashes that broke out during April’s mahabandh organised by the Scheduled Castes, Section 144 was imposed across various districts in MP. Further, to maintain harmony and ensure a peaceful protest, a large police force was deployed across the state, and various agencies like SAF, homeguards, small police units, were also called in. Security had been beefed up, and over 5,000 personnel from 34 security agencies were deployed across 35 districts.

In order to make sure that no objectionable and provocative messages could be circulated during the bandh, the Jabalpur district magistrate sent a notice that 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network services in the district will be barred from 8:00 pm on September 5, till 6:00 pm on September 6.

“We had deployed a force of 500 police officials to keep a tab on the activities in the city since 5:00 am. We had also identified some sensitive spots to make sure that no anti-social activities take place in the area,” Indore’s DIG Harinarayanachari Mishra told Firstpost. Nothing unusual took place in the area and all officials were alert throughout the day, he added.

In Bhind, however, stray stone pelting incidents took place in the afternoon. Sources said that police officials were attacked by a mob in front of the Nagar Palika.

Some individuals from the Ghasoi village in the Suwasra tehsil of Mandsaur set afire an effigy of CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan to protest against reservation. They were then asked to leave the spot by police officials.

Gwalior also observed a strict bandh, as per the agenda of major upper caste group, the Savarna Samaj. Over 1,500 policemen have been deployed in the area. District police force, STF, SAF and QRT teams were on constant alert while combing through sensitive regions for anti-social elements. Over 120 police mobile vans with 210 policemen scanned through the entire city and Gwalior police installed 40 cameras to scan sensitive pockets. Over 615 CCTVs and four drones helped police keep a vigil across the city. The security measures are expected to continue through Friday.

Senior police officials said that it was because of the attentiveness of the police officials that clashes and unnecessary incidents were averted in various areas.

Bhind SP Rudolf Alwares and ASP Gurukaran Singh took to streets with their forces and kept a tab on the situation in the district. They warned about strict consequences and police actions against people who are found to disturb peace and harmony.

Similarly, Neemuch police officials also took out a flag march in the area as a demonstration of strength.

Incessant rains in some parts of Mandsaur, Neemuch and outer Indore did not stop people in the region from protesting against reservation.

SAPAKS members in Bhind wore a black T-shirt with the tagline ‘Hum Hai Mai Ke Laal’, mocking the CM’s earlier statement that translated to ‘no mother has birthed a child who could change the law’. Slogans were raised, bike rallies organized, and masses gathered in processions against Shivraj Singh Chouhan. They submitted a memorandum to the department seniors in Mandsaur to give it to the President, and were dispersed by police after warnings. They also carried out a rally at Gandhi Square in the area.

Not much activity was witnessed in Indore, but a rally was initiated from Marimata square to Rajwada, to protest against reservation. Primarily, people from Brahman communities participated in the rally.


(Authors are members of, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters)

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