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Amid protests, Shivraj Singh Chouhan says no arrests will be made under amended SC/ST Act without probe

Amid protests against the amendment of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday announced that a directive will be issued shortly to ensure that the amended SC/ST (POA) Act is not misused in the state.

Chouhan was replying to a query on the protests in the state against the Parliament clearing the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018 in August restoring some stringent provisions of the Act.

 Amid protests, Shivraj Singh Chouhan says no arrests will be made under amended SC/ST Act without probe

File photo of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. PTI

"The misuse of the (amended) SC/ST Act will not be allowed in Madhya Pradesh. Only after a thorough probe, a case will be registered under it. To this end, a directive will be issued shortly," Chouhan on Thursday told reporters.

Chouhan comments came after several people on Thursday held protests in different parts of the state against the amended SC/ST Act which was passed by the Parliament in August. The Supreme Court, on 20 March this year, had placed safeguards on the provisions for immediate arrest under the SC/ST (POA) Act, 1989.

Bramha Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Samaj convener Prahlad Shukla on Thursday said that protesters took out a rally from Ganesh Mandir near Habibganj Railway Station, on their way to Chouhan's residence, but the police stopped them midway.

He said that protesters lay down on the roads and shouted slogans against the amendments, adding that there was a minor scuffle between the police and some of the protesters. He claimed that several protesters managed to get to the gates of the BJP and Congress offices and waved black flags.

Shukla claimed that Bramha Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Samaj president Dharmendra Sharma was manhandled by the police and suffered injuries outside PWD Minister Rampal Singh's home. Superintendent of Police (SP), Bhopal South, Rahul Kumar Lodha, however, denied the allegations and stated that no person was arrested in connection with the protests.

A nationwide bandh had earlier been called on 6 September by some upper caste groups against the restoration of some of the provisions of the SC/ST Act had met with a good response in poll-bound MP.

Chouhan has also been targeted by some elements from these groups. On 2 September, an organisation opposing these amendments had created ruckus at his public rally in the state's Sidhi district. Police vehicles in Ujjain were stoned on Monday by members reportedly belonging to groups opposed to these amendments.

Chouhan also slammed Congress leader Digvijay Singh for filing a court case against him in connection with the Vyapam examination scam. Chouhan called it an act of frustration.

The Vyapam scam refers to irregularities in exams held by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also called Vyavasayik Pareeksha Mandal or Vyapam, for admission in professional courses and state services. The Congress was indulging in such things to remain in the news, Chouhan claimed.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Sep 21, 2018 15:46:45 IST