Kerala on Monday went into shutdown as 30 Dalit organisations staged a protest over the dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act announced by the Supreme Court.
In Kochi, the leader of the protest, Geetanandan and his supporters were taken into custody.
“The report that we have got from across the state is that by and large, the protest appears to have become a success. There is no reason for taking us into custody,” said Geetanandan.
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In Kannur district, shops were asked to down their shutters.
In Kollam, a state-owned bus was stoned. Teachers who were to reach the Class 10 examinations paper valuation camp in the district were held up after traffic was halted.
“Don’t think we can reach the camp on time. We decided to come after the state government had assured us that traffic would not be stopped and the police had taken all steps to prevent it. But now we are stranded,” said a group of female teachers to IANS.
In the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, IT professionals were able to reach the Technopark campus in convoys. University examinations for the day were rescheduled.
Also Read: Dalit Organisations Launch 'Bharat Bandh' Today, Protesting Supreme Court Ruling On SC/ST Act
On March 20, the Supreme Court had issued a directive barring automatic arrest under the SC/ST Act, saying that the Act was being misused and politically motivated. The apex court outlined that an arrest could take place only after approval from authorities.
Last week, nine people were killed in clashes across Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar after Dalit communities called for a nationwide 'Bharat Bandh' in protest over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act.
The call for 'Bharat Bandh' was first given by Dalit group Sanvidhaan Bachao Sangharash Committee and which was later supported by the All India Adi Dharam Mission and All India Adi Dharam Sadhu Samaj. In Punjab, the protest call was led by the state’s Samvidhan Bachao Morcha of 200 Dalit and Valmiki organisations.