Punjab braces for 'Bharat Bandh', CBSE postpones board exams in state

The Asian Age / PTI

India, All India

Dalit organisations have called for a bandh to protest alleged dilution of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

CBSE said exams will carry on as per schedule in Union Territory of Chandigarh and rest of the country. (Representational Image)

New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has confirmed postponing class 12 and class 10 examinations scheduled to be held today in Punjab after it received a letter from the state government informing that there might be a “Bharat Bandh” organised by some Dalit groups.

"Taking congnisance of the letter of the director general (school education), the CBSE decided to postpone all class 12 and 10 examinations scheduled for April 2, 2018 in the state of Punjab," the CBSE said in a statement issued late in a night, according to news agency PTI.

Referring to the letter by the state government received on Sunday, the CBSE further said all schools in the state will remain shut for the day.

"Exams will carry on as per schedule in UT (Union Territory) of Chandigarh and rest of the country," it said.

The next date of the examinations in Punjab will be announced soon by the board, it added.

The state government on Sunday ordered a security clampdown as a precautionary measure following the shutdown call. The Dalit organisations have called for a bandh to protest the alleged dilution of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. The Supreme Court had on March 20 banned arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC/ST Act.

The apex court said government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens too should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.

But Dalit organisations, including the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, and some political parties fear the dilution of the provisions might lead to increase in violence against Dalits.

Several Dalit lawmakers and organisations, however, have demanded review of the court order on the SC/ST Act, which prevents the minorities from discrimination and atrocities. Amid repeated appeals by the lawmakers and organisations, the Centre has decided to file a review petition in the top court today.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government, in a bid to maintain law and order, has said that banks will also remain shut in the state today and public and private transport will stay off the road.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also requested the protesters to allow the bodies of Indians killed in Iraq, which will reach Amritsar today, to be transported to their respective villages without any hurdles. Army and paramilitary forces have been asked to be on standby. Mobile internet in the state will also remain suspended till 11 pm on Monday, a spokesperson of Punjab government was quoted as saying by PTI.