Police personnel detains a protestor during 'Bharat Bandh' against the alleged 'dilution' of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes act, in Gwalior. Image Credit: PTI

Patna: Over a dozen of people were injured on Tuesday in a violent clash in Bihar during the 'Bharat Bandh' called by various groups to protest against reservation policies, police said.

Who are Dalits?

Dalit means oppressed. It was used to refer to people belonging to the backward castes in pre-independence India, who were subjected to untouchability by those belonging to upper castes.

The term Dalit was popularised by economist and social reformer B.R. Ambedkar, who himself was a member of the backward caste.

Supporters, mostly upper castes youths, blocked roads and forcibly enforced the nationwide shutdown in Ara town, Bhojpur district.

"More than a dozen people were injured in the violent clash between supporters of the Bharat Bandh and a pro-reservation group comprising OBCs and Dalits," a district police official said.

Additional security have been deployed in Ara.

According to reports reaching here, hundreds of youths opposing reservation to SC/ST and OBCs and supporting Bharat Bandh, have blocked roads at several places, halted trains and forcibly closed markets in Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzafffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts.

The clash comes a day after the Union Home Ministry issued an advisory to all states to take precautionary measures in view of calls on social media for the 'Bharat Bandh' by various anti-reservation groups to protest clashes during the April 2 SC/ST shutdown.

The Bharat Bandh on April 2 by Dalit groups against the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a Supreme Court order had led to violence and arson in many parts of the country which claimed several lives and left hundreds of civilians and policemen injured.

India on alert as nationwide shutdown looms

The Centre on Monday advised all states to beef up security and prevent violence during the Bharat Bandh — or countrywide shutdown — called by some groups reportedly against caste-based reservations in jobs and education, an official said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs also said the districts magistrates and SPs will be personally held responsible for any violence in their area of jurisdiction.

The missive came a week after a similar protest saw massive violence in different parts of the country leading to the death of about a dozen people.

An official of the MHA said the ministry has issued an advisory to all states to take necessary precautionary measures in view of the calls on social media for Bharat Bandh on April 10 by some groups.

“The MHA has advised the states to beef up security and make appropriate arrangements to prevent any untoward incident, including issue of prohibitory orders, if necessary,” the official said.

The states have been asked to intensify patrolling in all sensitive locations so as to prevent any loss of life or damage to property.

“The advisory stressed that district magistrates and superintendents of police be made personally responsible for ensuring that law and order situation remains firmly under control in the areas of their jurisdiction,” the official said.

While the April 2 Bharat Bandh was called by groups opposing the alleged dilution of SC/ST (prevention of of atrocities) Act by a Supreme Court order, tomorrows protest is being reportedly called by people opposed to caste-based reservations in jobs and education.