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Shutdown in Kerala over SC/ST Act dilution

Thiruvanthapuram, April 9: Normal life across Kerala was paralysed on Monday following a shutdown in the state called by 30 Dalit organisations to protest against the dilution of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. A similar shutdown took place in the state on April 2 as part of the tionwide 24-hour protest called by trade unions. The state-owned Road Transport Corporation, private bus operators and traders body had earlier announced that they would function normally. But in many places, the protesters blocked roads to prevent vehicles from plying. In Kochi, the leader of Monday’s protest Geetandan and his supporters was taken into custody. “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,” Geetandan told the media. In Kollam, a state-owned bus was stoned. Teachers who were to reach the Class X examitions paper valuation camp in the district were held up after traffic was halted. In the state capital, IT professiols were able to reach the Technopark campus in convoys. University examitions for the day were rescheduled.

On April 3, the Supreme Court declined to stay its ruling, which activists say has diluted the law aimed at preventing atrocities on Dalits and tribes, as it asserted that it wanted to protect innocent people from being punished. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita