The recent spurt of violence by Dalit organizations during declaration of Bharat Bandh on Monday that left several people dead and injured across three states, has forced the National Commission of Schedule Caste to urge the administration of these states to investigate all the cases thoroughly and check for “willful conspiracy to commit violence” during the protests. Troubles started after a Supreme Court order was issued on March 20, 2018, to ban immediate arrests under Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act of 1989 and registration of criminal cases too.
NCSE VC Murugan Loganathan told reporters that the commission has written to all states for detailed report on the violence as it wanted to rule out the fact that these incidents were due to external instigating forces. The violent protests that erupted in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states following the court verdict led to death of 10 people and loss of property worth several thousand crores. Opposition parties like Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have accused the ruling BJP party of fueling caste violence and during the peaceful Bharat Bandh.
A day after the Bharat Bandh, a large mob of around 5000 people set fire to the houses of MLA Rajkumari Jatav and Bharosilal Jatav. Mr. Murugan stated that the commission had called for a meeting after the court verdict and later approached president Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi to apprise them that the verdict could lead to repercussions and a review petition should be filed at the earliest. Though the Supreme Court refused to roll back the order, it agreed to begin hearing of the review petitions by April 10, 2018. On being questioned about why the government had changed its stance, Murugan stated that though there were instances of the SC/ST Act being misused, its implementation was not being done properly and around 35,000 cases were pending before the commission.