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Schoolkids injured, houses of Dalit MLAs set on fire as counter protests rock Rajasthan

Tuesday April 3, 2018 10:02 PM, & Agencies

Rajasthan Protest

New Delhi/Jaipur: Houses of one sitting MLA and a former minister, both Dalits, were set on fire and about a dozen school children were left injured after a protest rally in Rajasthan's Hindaun City in Karauli took a violent turn on Tuesday.

The protest rally was taken out by traders, businessmen and non-scheduled caste people demanding action against the people who were involved in vandalism during Monday's Bharat Bandh called by various Dalit organisations.

According to reports, trouble erupted when some miscreants clashed with the police taking out a flag march through the city on Tuesday morning. Police resorted to lathi-charge and fired tear gas shells. Some of the shells reportedly exploded inside a government school, leading to a stampede. As many as two dozen people, including students, were reportedly injured by the teargas shells and in the ensuing stampede. The injured are undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

The mob comprising nearly 5,000 people also set ablaze the houses of sitting MLA Rajkumari Jatav and former MLA Bharosilal Jatav in Hindaun, District Collector, Karauli, Abhimanyu Kumar told PTI. While Rajkumari Jatav is from the ruling BJP, Bharosilal Jatav is a former Congress legislator who had also served as a minister in the state.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday said it will consider in detail the Centre's review petition against its March 20 judgment on the SC/ST Act but declined to keep in abeyance the directions passed by it to deal with the issues of arrest and sanction under the special law.

The Supreme Court latest move came a day after 11 people were killed in violence that spread in at least 08 states of India against what the protesters called "dilution of SC/ST Act." The Supreme Court while refusing to stay its earlier order however said people who are agitating may not have read the judgment properly and must have been misled by people with vested interests.

"We have not diluted any provision of SC/ST Act but only safeguarded the interests of the innocents from being arrested," a bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit asserted. It was the same bench that had passed the March 20 judgement.

During an hour long hearing, the apex court said the provisions of the SC/ST Act cannot be used to terrorise the innocents. The bench made it clear that it would hear the Centre's plea for a review of the earlier judgement, along with those who were original parties in the main petition, including the Maharashtra government, according to PTI.

The Supreme Court listed the Centre's review petition after 10 days for detailed hearing and asked the Maharashtra government and others to file written submissions within two days.

The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, however, said compensation can be paid to victims under The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, even without a FIR being registered.

A number of Dalit organisations on Monday called the nationwide bandh against the Supreme Court order on the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act banning automatic arrest and registration of cases. Seven people were killed after the protest turned violent with people resorting to stone pelting, damaging properties across various states including UP, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra. While five persons died in Madhya Pradesh, one died in Rajasthan’s Alwar one died in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzafarnagar.

Last Wednesday, a delegation of opposition parties led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi had met President Ram Nath Kovind to raise their concerns on dilution of the provisions of arrest in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and seek his intervention.

“There is great unease and a feeling of insecurity amongst the members of Dalit community and other oppressed classes after the said judgment was delivered. If immediate steps are not taken by the government, then, we are afraid, this may turn into something not less than a national disaster”, the delegation had said to the president.

Amid protest by Dalit organisations, the government moved the review petition in the Supreme Court on Monday. Speaking to reporters, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the Centre had no intention of removing the provision of reservation for minorities.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also said that the government "differs" with the reasoning given by the Supreme Court judgement "virtually redoing the entire architecture of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act".

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