New Delhi, April 2 (PTI) The “fundamental intent” of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act should be preserved, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today and extended his Aam Aadmi Party’s support to Dalit groups protesting against the alleged dilution of its provisions.

The AAP chief tweeted, “Under the situation resulting due to Supreme Court’s decision on SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, AAP is with the movement of SC/ST community. Central government should deploy top lawyers for the petition in the Supreme Court and the need and fundamental intent of the Act should be preserved.” The Delhi Assembly also discussed the issue in a calling attention motion today and both the ruling AAP and the opposition BJP members opposed the Supreme Court’s decision on the legislation.

Violent protests erupted on Monday in nationwide bandh called by Dalit outfits against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, leaving one person dead and many injured in Madhya Pradesh and disrupting normal life in many states.

While some states ordered closure of educational institutions and curtailed communication and transport services, including rail, incidents of arson and vandalism were reported from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Utar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab, among other states.

The Supreme Court had on March 20 diluted certain provisions of the 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.