In a timespan of a month, the second Bharat Bandh was enforced in Ara district of Bihar, by some groups to protest reservation in jobs and education. In the incident, over a dozen people were injured in clashes. The supporters of the strike were mostly from the upper castes. In nearly half-a-dozen districts, these supporters forced the markets to shut down. They also blocked the roads and railway tracks in localities including – Patna, Begusarai, Lakhisarai, Muzaffarpur, Bhojpur, Sheikhpura and Darbhanga districts.
Last week, during a Bharat Bandh by Dalit groups, in three states that witnessed violence, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the security was strengthened by following an advisory from the union home ministry.
The clashes in Bihar were between the Bharat Bandh supporters and a pro-reservation group, comprising Dalits and backward castes. In order to bring the situation under control, the police used batons and additional security was also deployed in the town.
Sources reported that in some districts extra security forces were deployed. Besides, prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were imposed and cellphone internet services were also suspended in some places.
In Firozabad district, as a precautionary measure, the administration asked schools to remain closed. Moreover, saying “strict action will be taken against law breakers”, the district administration banned processions and protests.
The call for the strike were circulated on social media, but no group came forward to make it official. The ministry advisory made it clear that for any violence in areas under their control, the district magistrates and police chiefs will be personally held responsible.