Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the backward classes and said that the NDA government had done more to carry out the ideals of B. R Ambedkar than any other party. The situation slowly limped back to normal, and now it was the turn of the political parties to sled it out. Every party tried to project itself as the savior of dalits.

The country took the brunt of Dalit anger as violence spread across many parts of India. The worst incidents happened in Gwalior where eight people have been killed. The city has been placed under curfew. The Dalit protests and call for Bharat Bandh have led to clashes and violence across the nation.

A 27-year-old protester was killed in Alwar while in Gujarat a Sub-Inspector suffered a heart attack and succumbed while being taken to the hospital. On Tuesday fresh violence broke after a 5000 strong mob set ablaze the houses of a sitting and former MLA, both Dalits, even as the death toll kept rising and reached 11 as two more people succumbed to their injuries.

Counter protests

The situation is very tense in Rajasthan. The angry mob set fire to houses of a current MLA Rajkumari Jatav and former minister and former Congress MLA Bharosi Lal Jatav in Hindaun town on Tuesday.

Additional forces were rushed to the area. Local communities under the banner of Sarv Samaj ignored curfew and came on the streets to protest against the violence and loss of property during the Bharat Bandh.

The people were demanding stern action against the violence and loot during the bandh.

The worst incidents of violence happened in Rajasthan and counter agitation started by traders and shopkeepers who lost property in the Dalit sponsored bandh.

The paramilitary forces including BSF have been deployed in full force in the state.

This includes three companies of BSF in Bharatpur, three in Jalore, two in Barmer, two in Sawai Madhopur.

Many arrested

Meanwhile, the police have arrested more than 1000 people for rioting and causing a breach of peace.

According to NRK Reddy, additional director general of police, law, and order, the arrests are continuing, and the administration will leave no stones unturned to bring the miscreants under the law. The arrested include former minister Rajkumar Jaipal and former city mayor Kamal Bakolia, who were booked under the section 151 of the CrPC for instigating violence during the bandh.

Meanwhile, life limped back to normal in most districts in Madhya Pradesh which saw unprecedented violence during the bandh. Curfew is still in place in Gwalior while prohibitory orders have been promulgated in most cities across the state. The Army has been placed on alert in most districts across the country.

Court decline to stay order

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stay or change its order on the SC/ST act which much Dalit organization felt was diluting the provisions of the act. Meanwhile, the government has declared that it remains committed to the protection of the rights of the backward classes.

The life was paralyzed in more than ten states, mostly BJP ruled states and the worst incidents happened in poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The agitation was triggered by a Supreme Court interpretation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 on March 20.

The highest court of the land struck down automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC/ST Act. The act which was promulgated to prevent abuse and discrimination of the backward classes, who had been historically discriminated, was often abused and led to the victimization of the innocent. The Supreme Court made some preconditions before the act could be applied.

The central government tried to firefight the situation by having an urgent and open court hearing of its review petition but to no avail as the bench comprising of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit was not convinced. Justice Goel observed that an innocent must not be punished and at the same time any member of the SC/ST must not be deprived of his rights.