Bhopal: At least 35 organisations in Madhya Pradesh belonging to the upper castes have called for “Bharat Bandh” against the amendments to the SC/ST Act today. Following the call, security has been stepped up across the state.

While school holiday has been declared in Gwalior and Bhind districts, petrol pumps across the state will remain closed today in view of the shutdown call.

“We have decided to shut petrol pumps from 10 am to 2 pm tomorrow due to security reasons as some organizations have given a call for bandh,” Madhya Pradesh Petrol Pump Owners Association president Ajay Singh told PTI  on Thursday.

Police have tightened security across the state in view of ongoing protests against the amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Following the bandh call, the authorities have imposed Section 144 in Satna, Bhind, Shivpuri, Gwalior and other districts.

Meanwhile, anticipating more protests during Bharat Bandh tomorrow, Madhya Pradesh ministers, like Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Lalita Yadav, Narayan Singh Kushwaha, have cancelled their public functions.

Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar said thirty-four companies of the special armed forces of police have been deployed in various districts.

The bandh has been called by members of the upper caste community, belonging to Parashuram Sena, Kashatriya Mahasabha, Karani Sena and other outfits.

Jabalpur district collector Chhavi Bharadwaj has written to the state home department, seeking suspension of Internet services in the district till 6 pm on Thursday.

Meanwhile, protests against the amendment to the SC/ST Act continued in the state Wednesday.

Protesters showed black flags to former Union minister and senior BJP leader Prahlad Patel at Tikamgarh when he was addressing the party’s OBC workers.

Slogans were shouted by protesters outside the venue of BJP’s OBC cell’s meeting in Gwalior.

After the Supreme Court diluted the provision of mandatory arrests under the SC/ST Act, sparking protests by Dalit organisations, the Union government brought an amendment in the monsoon session of Parliament to override the apex court’s order.

Gwalior-Chambal region, considered a sensitive area, had witnessed large-scale violence on April 2 this year during the Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups.

Now, upper caste organisations are protesting against the amendment.

Brahma Samagam Sawarna Jankalyan Sangathan’s national president Dharmendra Sharma said about 150 organisations of upper castes and OBCs would participate in the Bharat Bandh against the amendment.