Massive protests in India over Supreme Court ruling on low-caste communities

Updated: 04:08 GMT, Apr 3, 2018 | Published: 11:38 GMT, Apr 2, 2018 |

Protests erupted across several cities in India on Monday (April 02) against a ruling on low-caste communities by the country’s apex court.

Several organizations belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), made up of “untouchables” and which is the lowest tier, and Scheduled Tribes (ST) made up of tribal groups are the next tier, called for a nationwide shutdown against an amendment ordered by the Supreme Court on the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act last month. The Supreme Court ruled that a government official cannot be prosecuted on a mere allegation of committing an offence under the Act without the sanction of the appointing authority.

The ruling was followed by fierce protests across the country as agitators took to the streets, carried flags, banners and raised slogans. Hundreds of protesters blocked railway lines and stopped trains in northwestern Jaipur city. In central Ranchi city, security personnel had to resort to baton-charge to disperse dissenters.

Indian Interior Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters in New Delhi that the federal government had filed a review petition for reconsidering its order and urged the protesters to maintain peace.

According to the 2011 census, the SC and ST comprise about 16.6 percent and 8.6 percent respectively, of India‘s population.

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