New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) The Centre today rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh after violent protests erupted during a nationwide bandh called by Dalit outfits against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been sent to Meerut and one company each to Agra and Hapur (all in UP), a home ministry official said.

A company of RAF comprises around 100 personnel.

Two companies each of the RAF have been sent to Bhopal and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh to assist the state administration in tackling the situation.

Curfew was imposed in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh after a student leader died in firing and several others were injured.

Violence was also reported from many districts of Uttar Pradesh including Azamgarh where protesters torched two state-run buses, injuring several passengers. Protests turned violent in Agra, Hapur, Meerut in western UP.

The Supreme Court had on March 20 diluted certain provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, in a bid to protect ‘honest’ public servants discharging bona fide duties from being blackmailed with false cases under the Act.

The verdict is being widely criticised by the Dalits and the Opposition who claim that the dilution of the Act will lead to more discrimination and crimes against the backward community.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.