Bhim Army Chief Calls for Bharat Bandh; UP, Bihar, NCR Feel Impact
Azad called for a national shutdown following SC verdict that limits govt positions and promotions for SC/ST/OBC’s.
Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Azad’s called for a nationwide bandh on Sunday, 23 February, which received widespread support from multiple social outfits in Delhi, Bihar and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Under Delhi’s Maujpur metro station, stone pelting took place following an altercation between two groups. Tear gas shells were also fired by Police on Sunday.
Azad called for the national shutdown following the Supreme Court verdict that states were not bound to provide reservation in government jobs and quote in promotion.
According to a statement by the Bhim Army, the verdict deprives the SC/ST/OBC sections of fundamental rights.
“We demand the Central Government to take up the matter in consideration and resolve the issue by bringing an ordinance so the rights of reservation for the SC/ST/OBC and minorities may be protected. We also demand the Central government and State Governments to stop the exercise of NPR,” the statement said.
Protesters Stopped Midway by Police in Aligarh
The Bhim Army-led march, with hundreds of anti-CAA protesters, heading to the district collectorate on Sunday afternoon was stopped midway by police and Rapid Action Force jawans in Aligarh.
The protesters were stopped by police from moving ahead after they crossed over the Katpula Bridge from the old city.
With large number of police officials blocking their way, the protesters changed their way and reached Eidgah instead, where a large group of anti-CAA women protesters have been holding an indefinite dharna for the past three weeks.
The first signs of the bandh were seen in Shaheen Bagh as a section of the protesters conducting a sit-in demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Seelampur in North-East Delhi blocked the Seelampur-Jaffrabad main road late night on Saturday 22 February.
Azad appealed to his supporters on Sunday to avoid any untoward incident and stated that the BJP party will try to provoke the protests.
“I appeal to the entire Bahujan society that it is our fundamental right to raise our voice against injustice, so shut down India in a peaceful manner. Avoid any untoward incident. People of BJP will try to provoke you, do not get into any kind of provocation. Jai Bheem.”
The bandh was widely supported by some political parties, including Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) in Uttar Pradesh and Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar
The Chairman of SC Department of Congress, Nitin Raut, tweeted in favour of the bandh.
At a press conference at the Press Club of India on 12 Feburary, the Dalit leader said that the BJP government at the Centre is trying to end the reservations. Now, "save the reservation, save the constitution" and "remove the CAA, NRC, NPR, save the constitution" movements will be launched.
Azad asked leaders from the OBC to SC-ST and minority groups to participate in the shut down. He also warned that if the MPs and MLAs of the backward and Dalit classes did not support the call, there would be a demonstration in front of their houses. The Bhim Army has also demanded reservation in jobs and promotions in the private sector.
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