July 31, 2021 3:47:18 pm
Police in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar district registered an FIR against leaders associated with the farmers’ protest after state president of the Scheduled Caste Morcha of Rajasthan BJP Kailash Meghwal was allegedly manhandled by those present at the protest Friday.
According to Meghwal, the incident took place when he was headed to a BJP dharna demanding irrigation water and protesting deteriorating law and order situation. “Around 500 metre before the site of dharna, Congress and CPM workers posed as farmers, showed me black flags and assaulted me. They tore my clothes and tried to push me into a drain,” said Meghwal.
He alleged police were present at the spot but didn’t do much when he was being beaten. A video of the incident went viral on social media, leading BJP leaders to slam the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan.
“I was beaten for more than twenty minutes. At last, when they were trying to push me into a drain, two constables came to my help. Those who assaulted me were not farmers but Congress and CPM workers,” said Meghwal, who added that he sustained injuries and is now admitted at a private hospital.
The FIR named five persons, including former CPM MLA Hetram Beniwal, under Section 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) along with relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The FIR, lodged on a complaint by Meghwal’s driver, also alleges that those who assaulted Meghwal abused him with casteist slurs.
“We have registered an FIR and investigation is on. There was a dharna by farmers against the farm laws and on the other side, there was a protest by BJP. There was barricades between the two but how the clash took place will be clear only after the investigation,” said Gajender Singh, station house officer, Kotwali police station, Sriganganagar.
Meghwal alleged that the Congress government in the state is protecting the accused.
Meanwhile, reacting to Meghwal’s allegations, Beniwal said, “BJP had deliberately, as part of a plan, sent Meghwal to create nuisance in our meeting in order to defame the farmers’ protest. They have tried such tactics before too. Meghwal and a few others were chanting slogans in support of the farm laws and deliberately came near our meeting, when the clash broke out. We also ensured that things do not escalate. There is no truth in the allegations that we abused him with casteist slurs or in the claims that he was beaten up because he is a Dalit.”
He added farmers associated with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha were protesting against the farm laws when Meghwal had arrived.
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