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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena dodges police, hoists flag at Amagarh fort

While Meena claimed to have dodged police to hoist the flag, the Jaipur Police said the flag was hoisted away from the disputed site, on the rampart on the outer areas of the fort.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur |
Updated: August 2, 2021 1:07:22 pm
BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena addresses Adivasi Meena Samaj supporters in Jaipur on Sunday. (Express Photo: Rohit Jain Paras)

In another twist to the ongoing dispute between members of the Meena community and local Hindu outfits, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Lal Meena hoisted a white flag, said to represent a community deity, on the ramparts of the Amagarh fort in Jaipur early Sunday morning.

While Meena claimed to have dodged police to hoist the flag, the Jaipur Police said the flag was hoisted away from the disputed site, on the rampart on the outer areas of the fort.

The 18th century fort has been at the centre of a dispute between the two groups with leaders of the Meena community accusing Hindu groups of allegedly trying to tamper with tribal culture and appropriate tribal symbols at Amagarh fort. The Hindu outfits, in turn, hit out at the Meenas for allegedly taking down a saffron flag from the fort on July 21 and had issued calls on social media for followers to reach the fort on August 1 to hoist another flag.

BJP MP Meena has led the pushback against Meeena leaders led by Independent MLA Ramkesh Meena, maintaining that Meenas are also Hindus — the Meenas are classified as a Scheduled Tribe in Rajasthan.

In videos released by Meena’s team, the MP can be seen talking before daybreak about the journey to the fort, saying they had braved darkness, rain and wild animals to reach the fort, walking towards it as early as 3.30am.

“We had announced that on August 1, we will hoist the flag of Meen Bhagwan at Amagarh fort. We hoisted the flag at 6.30am today. There were nine people. There was a three-tier security arrangement, but it failed. We climbed the three-and-a-half km stretch of the hill and scaled the 40 ft high wall and entered Amagarh. I am not an old man, I am a young man of 70,” Meena told his supporters outside Vidhyadhar Nagar police station, where he was taken after the incident.

While police said he was only detained briefly, Meena tweeted that he was arrested.

“He was taken away from the spot and later released. Our force was already deployed in the fort. The flag was hoisted on the ramparts situated in the outer areas of the fort, which is below the disputed site,” said DCP Jaipur North Paris Deshmukh.

He also put forward a set of demands, including that he be allowed to worship at a temple of Lord Shiva atop the fort.

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