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Bharat Bandh: Clashes reported from Bihar, section 144 imposed in Bhopal

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an advisory to all states to take necessary precautionary measures in the view of Bandh called for Tuesday.

A week after Dalit groups across the country held a nationwide protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, which witnessed massive violence in different parts of the country leading to the death of nine people, a Bharat Bandh against caste-based reservation in education and jobs has been called today.

Calls for an anti-quota bandh started circulating on social media after Dalit protests last week. Separate security alerts have also been issued in a number of states, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, from where the deaths were reported on April 2.

"No group has come forward to say they are organising a call for a bandh. These messages are doing the rounds in social media," said Jaipur police chief Sanjay Agarwal. "We are holding meetings with community liaison groups and traders. Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their hands," he added.

Schools remained shut today in Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad as a precautionary measure, in the wake of Bharat Bandh called on Tuesday. According to media reports, a shutdown has been called by some groups for April 10, who are reportedly against caste-based reservations in jobs and education.

In view of Bharat Bandh called by different groups, prohibitory orders will be clamped in Jaipur. Police Commissioner Sanjay Aggarwal, in a press conference, said that no procession or protest will be allowed on Tuesday and strict action will be taken against offenders. Internet services will remain suspended in the city till Tuesday night. STF teams have been deputed at different locations of the city, he added.

Rail and road traffic has been disrupted by protesters in Bihar's Arrah. Buxar passenger train was stopped at Arrah station. Bandh supporters have taken to the streets, organised a bike-rally in Rajasthan's Jhalawar. Hundred of protesters, opposing caste-based reservation, have blocked roads at several places, halted trains and forcibly closed markets in Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzaffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts in Bihar. Over a dozen people have been injured in violent clashes in Bihar.

Internet services have been suspended in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli and Hapur in western Uttar Pradesh amid anti-reservation protests.

Section 144 has been imposed in Bhopal today in the wake of Bharat Bandh. Around 6000 police personnel will be deployed in order to ward off any violence or untoward incidents. Although the section has been imposed in several other districts of Madhya Pradesh, but Gwalior, Bhind and Morena are deemed to be the sensitive areas.