Over a dozen people were injured on Tuesday in a violent clash in Bihar during the "Bharat Bandh" called by various groups to protest the reservation policies, police said.
Supporters, mostly upper caste youth, blocked roads and enforced the nationwide shutdown in Ara town, Bhojpur district.
"More than a dozen people were injured as supporters of Bharat Bandh clashed with a pro-reservation group, comprising OBCs and Dalits," a district police official said. Additional security has been deployed in Ara following the clash.
The clash comes a day after the Union Home Ministry issued an advisory to all states to take precautionary measures in view of calls on social media for the "Bharat Bandh" by various anti-reservation groups to protest clashes during the April 2 SC/ST shutdown.
According to reports, hundreds of youths, opposing reservation to SC/ST and OBCs and supporting Bharat Bandh, blocked roads at several places, halted trains and forcibly closed markets in Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzafffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts.
Today's anti-quota protest came a week after a nationwide protest by Dalit groups against "dilution" of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by the Supreme Court, entailing massive violence in different parts of the country and leading to deaths of nine persons.
Internet services in several of Uttar Pradesh’s districts, including Hapur and Saharanpur among others, were suspended by local authorities as anti-reservation groups took to the streets to protest quotas in government jobs and educational institutions for the underprivileged communities. Schools in Firozabad district remained shut on Tuesday.
Even as police across the state kept tight vigil, official sources told news agency PTI that there was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the state till around noon during the ongoing 'Bharat Bandh.'
(With agency inputs)