Dalit protests sweep Kerala, Leader taken into custody, claims success

Various Dalit outfits in Kerala called for a dawn to dusk hartal condemning the violence against the community during the nationwide Bharat Bandh strike on April 2. The protest being held today is also against the “dilution” of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 after a March 20 Supreme Court order alleging “misuse” of the Act.

Image Courtesy: Indian Express

As per reports, various outfits namely ChermarSambavar Development Society (CSDS), Akhila Kerala Cheramar Hindu Mahasabha, National Dalit Liberation Front, Sangham, Dalit Human Rights Movement, Kerala CheramarSangham, Social Liberation Front, BahujanSamaj Party and the DravidaVargaAikyaMunnani have extended their support to the bandh.

Adivasi GothraMaha Sabha leader Geethananda was taken into custody for “blocking roads”. However, terming the Bandh a success, he said, “The report that we have got from across the state is that by and large, the protest appears to have become a success … There is no reason for taking us into custody.”
Now, the Dalit activists have marched to the Secretariat and staged a ‘dharna’.

Exams were postponed at Mahatma Gandhi University and second year B Pharm exams are rescheduled to April 16, while all other exams will now be held on April 23.

Earlier, protesters stopped the plying of buses etc. while essential services like hospitals, milk, newspapers etc. were exempted from the strike.

The protesting groups have also demanded a judicial probe into the killings that took place on the protest day of April 2.

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