Bharat Bandh Death Toll Reaches 10, UP Police Blames BSP Lawmaker As 'Key Conspirator'

| April 3 , 2018 , 08:08 IST

The 'Bharat Bandh' protests launched by Dalit communities pan-India on Monday against the dilution of the SC/ST Act by the Supreme Court turned deadly as a total of 10 people were killed in the clashes, which witnessed violence in several states.

According to reports, 6 people died in clashes in Madhya Pradesh, 2 in Uttar Pradesh, 1 in Rajasthan and 1 in Bihar, while more than 165 people were injured, and several vehicles torched.  The protests took place despite the Centre filing a review petition on the SC/ST Act in the Supreme Court on Monday morning, and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh urging groups to maintain peace.

ALSO READ: Dalit Organisations Launch 'Bharat Bandh', Protesting Supreme Court Ruling On SC/ST Act

Uttar Pradesh police has detained BSP lawmaker Yogesh Verma who represents Meerut's Hastinapur in the state assembly, alleging him of being the "main conspirator" behind the violence. Verma, 48, already has a number of police cases pending against him, including attempt to murder, assault and rioting.

Meerut was one of the main towns that faced the brunt of the violent protests, with 1 person getting killed and 45 policemen getting injured in Meerut itself. Although the police had been given a free hand by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to deal with the protestors, 200 Rapid Action Force personnel had to be called in.

Earlier on Monday, BSP Chief Mayawati, who is known for her pro-dalit stand, said that while her Bahujan Samaj Party is no longer in parliament, "our politics outside will force the Narendra Modi government to buckle under... Our party will not sit quietly if their (Dalit) voices are not heard."

ALSO READ: 6 Killed As Bharat Bandh Protests Turn Violent, Despite Centre Filing Review On SC/ST Act To SC

Mayawati further blamed the delay in the government filing the review petition for the protests that took place.

"The review petition filed in the Supreme Court was critical, they took a lot of time to file it. Had it been done in good time, people wouldn't have had to come to the streets," Mayawati said.

In wake of the violence that took place on Monday, the UP government has ordered close schools and colleges in Agra, Hapur, Ghaziabad and Meerut on Tuesday, except for those students scheduled to appear for board/university exams.