New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The Union Home Ministry on Monday said it has sent central forces to assist Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in maintaining law and order in the wake of nationwide protests against the dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
“The Ministry is in constant touch with the states. Whichever state has asked for Central forces, they have been made available immediately. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have so far requested for Central forces. Rapid Action Force and paramilitary forces have been made available,” a ministry statement said.
The ministry has also asked the states “to take all preventive measures and maintain public order and ensure the safety of lives of people and property.”
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed grief over the violence and loss of lives during protests.
“I am deeply pained by the acts of violence and loss of precious lives in some parts of the country today during protests in context of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act,” he said in a tweet.
The minister also urged political parties to avoid tensions.
“A review petition has been filed in Supreme Court today. I would appeal to all to avoid tensions. I seek their support.
“We should not create a situation that leads to communal tensions. It is the moral responsibility of all the political parties to cooperate so that any kind of tensions can be avoided,” he told media persons here.
Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Dalits and Tribes.
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others. But the top court denied an urgent hearing of the matter.
Protesters clashed with police in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha — states where normal life was paralysed in varying degrees amid incidences of violence and arson.