New Delhi, April 2: Dalit organisations have called for a countrywide bandh on Monday to protest against the Supreme Court’s order on Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Noting Punjab had the highest population of Scheduled Castes in the country, constituting nearly 32 percent of state’s population, Captain Amarinder Singh government has decided to suspend the services of public transport across the state. Catch live updates on Bharat Bandh protest in Punjab and other parts of the country here

“During Bandh, the PRTC, Punjab Roadways and PunBus Buses would not ply on roads and the services of these buses would remain suspended,” said a press release by Punjab’s Information and Public Relations Department. (ALSO READ: Bharat Bandh Call in Punjab: Here Are The Services That Will Remain Shut)

All educational institutions will also remain closed and mobile Internet services to be suspended across the state. ANI reported that CBSE Board Examinations for Class X and XII which were scheduled for April 2, 2018, have been postponed. PSEB practical exams will also be rescheduled.

Ahead of the protests, security has also been beefed up. A large contingent of police force has been deployed at various parts of the state and the Army has also been roped in. Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh assured that the state police and Magistrates are on full alert and requested the Army authorities in the state to remain ready for any eventuality.

“We have received that there are likely to be widespread agitation and possible roadblocks in certain parts of Punjab. The state police and Magistrates are on full alert. I request the Army authorities in the state of Punjab may be asked to remain ready for any eventuality, since the State Government/District Magistrates may need their assistance for maintaining law and order on April 2,” the release added.

Initially, the bandh call was given by Dalit group Sanvidhaan Bachao Sangharash Committe and later was backed by All India Adi Dharam Mission and All India Adi Dharam Sadhu Samaj.

On March 20, the apex court, in a bid to check misuse of the SC/ST Act, ruled that preliminary enquiry in a case under the Atrocities Act would be done by the DSP to ensure the allegations are not frivolous, and to avoid the false implication of an innocent. The court also held that a government official cannot be prosecuted on a mere allegation of committing an offense under the Act without the sanction of the appointing authority.

(With ANI inputs)