Indore: The ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by some upper caste organisations and backed by some OBC outfits and business organizations to protest against amendments in the SC/ST Act evoked strong response here in the city on Thursday.Private schools, colleges, main markets and other business establishments in most parts of the city were closed. Lean attendance of government employees were seen in the offices. The nationwide bandh call was given by SAPAKS Society. But, looking at the hard provisions in the Act, which will hamper the natural justice, upper caste people supported the bandh.
The bandh severely hit financial capital of the state. Though the bandh call was given for half-a-day (from morning to 2 pm) yet some observed the bandh for the whole day. All prominent markets– Siyaganj, MT Cloth Market, Sitlamata Bazaar, Malhargang, Bartan Bazaar, Bohra Bazaar, Bajajkhana Chowk, Sarafa, Rajwada, shops of MG Road and Jawahar Marg, 56 Shops, Sukhalia, all 3 grain mandies–were closed till 2pm. Ramesh Khandelwal, president of Ahilya Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said more than 40 associate business organizations supported the bandh call and therefore all shops were shut.
LEAN ATTENDANCE IN GOVT. OFFICES
A very lean attendance was observed in various government offices. Employees belonging to upper castes remained on leave for the day. Due to their absence, office work affected at the office of Collectorate, Registrar of Properties, Commercial Tax, agicultural departments etc.
The epicenter of the bandh was collector’s office, where more than 5,000 people of upper caste and office bearers of SAPAKS gathered to hand over the memorandum to the Collector addressed to the President. Advocate Jagdish Joshi, district president of SAPAKS society, Satish Sharma, executive president and Abhay Kumar Agrawal GENERAL SECRETARY of SAPAKS submitted the memorandum. Later, talking to media Joshi, Sharma and Agrawal expressed their resolve to fight against the discriminatory law till its logical end. They said that the amendments made in the Act are against fundamental right.
The surprising thing of the bandh was presence of large number of women at the collector’s office. They belong to Karni Sena and came here in their traditional Rajasthani attire. Talking to reporters, they stated that they would fight this law and force the government to make necessary changes. Sensing trouble, police cordoned off LS speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s residence at Manishpuri. A heavy force of police deployment was made there led by a police officer of CSP rank.