In one of the most violent protests in recent times in India, at least nine persons were killed and many injured in violence on Monday as Dalit protesters blocked trains, clashed with police and set fire to vehicles across several states during a nationwide bandh against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
While six people were killed in Madhya Pradesh, one each died in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.
The Union Home Ministry, which rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to MP and UP, asked all states to take preventive steps and maintain public order to ensure safety of lives and property.
The government said it is committed to ensuring welfare of SCs, STs and other weaker sections and guaranteeing them full protection of law as it appealed to people not to fall prey to rumours and false propaganda.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also asked political parties to help in maintaining harmony among different sections of the society.