Lucknow, April 2 (IANS) One person was killed in Muzaffarnagar and over 100 were injured on Monday as violence singed many parts of the state during the “Bharat Bandh” enforced by Dalit groups in protest against a ruling of the Supreme Court with regard to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, police said.
Maximum violence in the state was reported from western Uttar Pradesh, where the protesters took to the streets and went on rampage.
More than 450 people, including a former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator, have been arrested.
The police and state Home Department officials said the National Security Act (NSA) would be invoked against the lumpen elements who took law in their hands.
Additional security forces were rushed to Agra, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar and Hapur districts where the situation went out of control by evening.
Two persons were critically injured in police firing in Muzaffaranagar, one of whom later succumbed.
More than two dozen vehicles were set on fire in Hapur and hundreds were attacked. Dalit protesters here also vent their ire on Hapur legislator Vijaypal Aadhati and attacked his car. An Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) was also injured in the violence.
Over three dozen policemen were injured in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut as protesters pelted stones on them and engaged in brick-batting. An irate mob also tried to torch the family court premises and set on fire the Shobhapur police outpost.
Violence and road jams due to squatting of protesters was also reported on the busy Delhi-Yamunotri highway in Saharanpur.
Roads were blocked in Shamli and Bulandshahr and the protesters targeted trains and blocked them by lying on the rail tracks. Several trains including Taj Express, Gatimaan Express, Karnataka Express and Kochi Express were delayed by several hours due to the disruption of rail traffic.
Violence has also been reported from Agra and Firozabad. Initially, there were reports that a Dalit youth had been killed in the violence, but Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar categorically denied it.
“That incident was separate. It happened last night and had nothing to do with the Monday protests,” the official told IANS.
Demonstrations were also held in Rampur, Amroha, Sambhal, Moradabad, Pilibhit, Budayun, Bareilly and Shahjahanpur.
In Gorakhpur, 16 persons were taken into custody after they were caught forcing shopkeepers to down shutters. They had also damaged a bank ATM.