Agra: Hundreds of Dalits took to the streets here on Monday against the dilution of the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, putting scores of domestic as well as foreign tourists to inconvenience.
The protesters blocked traffic on the national highway to Delhi, witnesses and police officials said. Miscreants pelted stones and tried torching a hotel belonging to a local BJP leader. Police opened fire in the air to disperse the mob near the Collectorate.
Groups of Dalits vandalised shops and vehicles, stopped a train at the Agra Fort railway station and blocked highways, leading to huge traffic snarls.
The Gatiman Express was stopped at the Billochpura station in Agra as demonstrators squatted on the railway track.
The Railway Protection Force cleared the tracks to enable the train to resume its journey to Jhansi.
Several other trains were also delayed. Tourists visiting Agra were put to a lot of inconvenience, guides at the Agra Cantonment station said. Agra is considered the Dalit capital of north India, with Jatavs engaged in the leather shoe making industry forming the bulk of the community. Agra is also seen as a stronghold of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Shops in most markets of Agra remained closed. Traffic movement within the city was badly impacted and tourist buses were held up at several points.