Punjab on high alert ahead of SC protest

Chandigarh: Punjab was on high alert on Monday with hundred of security personnel deployed ahead of a protest called by some organizations of the Scheduled Castes, objecting to the dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

Reports said that some protesters tried to stop a train in Amritsar district on Monday morning but relented later following talks with railway officials.

Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed.

The final practical examinations of Class 10 and 12 of Punjab School Education Board, which were scheduled to be held on Monday, will now be held on April 11.

Various SC organizations will submit memorandums to officers in the districts against the dilution of the Act following an All-India protest call given by the SC organizations.

Protests are likely to be held at various places.

The Punjab government on Sunday ordered a security clampdown across the state as a precautionary measure in view of Monday’s protest.

The state has the highest concentration of scheduled castes among states. They constitute nearly 32 per cent of the state’s 2.8 crore population.

Mobile internet services in the state were suspended from 5 p.m. on Sunday till Monday evening to curb rumours on the social media, while all public and private transport will also remain suspended, an official spokesperson said here.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh reviewed the security arrangements with top police and administrative officials here on Sunday evening.

Four battalions of the Rapid Action Force, four of Border Security Force, along with 12,000 additional police personnel will remain on duty Monday to maintain law and order.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the protesters not to take the law in their own hands and also appealed to ensure that the mortal remains of the Iraq victims, that are expected to arrive in Amritsar on Monday, are allowed to be transported to their native villages without any impediment.

Noting that the Central government had already announced its decision to file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict, he appealed to the SC/ST community should defer its protest till the final decision on the petition comes.

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