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Minister’s caste remark sparks row in Rajasthan

The minister had on Sunday accused the two communities of neglecting the Meenas in the state.

State Tribal Area Development Minister Nandlal Meena’s remarks against the Brahmin and Baniya community drew sharp reactions across the state on Tuesday with the communities demanding an apology within 24 hours. The minister had on Sunday accused the two communities of neglecting the Meenas in the state.

His remarks drew a strong backlash from the Brahman Mahasabha with Meena’s effigies being burnt across the state. Hundreds of members from Brahman and Vaishya communities gathered in the state capital on Monday morning for a massive demonstration and took out a mock funeral of Meena and burnt his effigy. Similar demonstrations were held in 19 other districts across the state.

Snubbing the representatives of Meena community in Karauli on Sunday, the minister had said, “You do not want better education for the girls of your community nor ask for hostels for them. Instead you want better roads so that the same Brahman and Baniya community that has neglected you and kept you downtrodden can comfortably drive their cars.”

Suresh Mishra, state president of the Brahman Mahasabha, said, “We condemn the statement. It is an attempt to defame the Brahman community and we will agitate against it. We seek an apology from the minister over the next 24 hours or else we will launch a statewide agitation against him.”

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Meena had claimed that the Brahman and Baniya communities did not educate the Meenas and neglected them. “Meenas were also kings but the Brahmans and Baniyas did not educate them and denied them access to basic facilities, so they remained Adivasis,” he told the delegation.

First published on: 19-02-2014 at 01:43 IST
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