Bhopal: Normal life was affected in the state capital as schools, commercial establishments, petrol pumps remained closed on Thursday  in wake of ‘Bharat Bandh’ called to protest against the amendments in SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Extending their support to the bandh, business community pulled down their shutters voluntarily. Even petrol pumps dealers participated in the protest and kept their fuel stations shut. Banks and government offices functioned normally.

Keeping security and safety of the students in mind, private schools – CBSE as well as educational institutions affiliated to MPBSE – had declared a holiday in view of the bandh. The shutdown call by anti-reservation bodies remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the city during the bandh.Members of organization including Karni Sena and Brahman Samaj held demonstrations in Kolar area and Board Office Square.

The protestors were prevented from marching to residence of home minister Bhupendra Singh. Polcie personnel stopped the agitated protestors at Board Office Square. Markers wore a deserted look as businessmen kept their establishments shut in support of the bandh. All the prominent markets like New Market, Chowk Bazar including Sarafa Bazar, Vijay Market, 10 number market, even shops at colonies remained closed.  Alike other parts of the state, the administration had imposed prohibitory order under Section 144 in the state capital.

Madhya Pradesh Petrol Pump Owners Association president Ajay Singh said that the fuel stations were shut from 10 am till evening for security reasons. As all the eateries were closed, hostellers and students had a tough time arranging for breakfast and lunch.  Even tea kiosks remained shit on the day. However, milk parlours remained opened till 10.00 AM.

‘Bharat Bandh’ was called by Samanya Pichhda Alpsankhayak Adhikari Kramchari Sangh (SPAAKS) and various other likeminded outfits linked to the upper caste like Karni Sena and Brahman Samaj to protest against the amendment in SC/ST Act. Heavy security forces were deployed at all the prominent squares and routes of the city to prevent occurrence of any untoward incident.

CM’s son keeps his outlet shut- CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s son Kartikeya also came in support of the bandh as he kept his store ‘Florica’, at 10 number market, shut. Protestors led by advocate Priti Tripathi raised slogans in support of bandh in front of his outlet. Black flags fly high- Even as shops remained closed in wake of bandh, some of businessmen had put up black flags at their establishments as mark of the protest. Black flags were seen flying high at Vijay Market. Women show bangles- Protesting against the Act, women wings of Brahaman Samaj and Karni Sena brought with them bangles.  They held demonstrations at Kolar areas and Board Office Square showing bangles.

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