An uneasy calm prevailed in riot-hit Kotadi as villagers belonging to the minority community accused the local BJP MLA and state cabinet minister Nandlal Meena of ignoring their plight. They complained that Meena came for the funeral of Bhanwar Singh and Dinesh Gaeri, both from neighbouring Moheda village who were killed in the communal violence, but did not even meet those from the minority community, who lost all their property and a youth, Raja Khan (20), in the riots.
Three persons were killed and six were injured in the riots on Tuesday after RSS workers clashed with Pathan Muslims of Kotadi and the violence spread to Moheda.
Nazneen Khan, who lost his house in the arson, told The Indian Express, “Now that BJP has come to power, they do not care about the minorities. Our local MLA who is also a minister has not even come to see us over the past three days.”
Razia Khan complained that the compensation for the loss of property just Rs 3,000-Rs 5,000. “We have lost our houses and all our belongings. The compensation is too little for us to rebuild our houses and lives. We cannot even build a mud house in that money,” she said.
According to the district administration, 42 houses and shops belonging to the minority community were destroyed.
Congress leader Velu Ram Meena, who lost to Meena in the recent elections, said, “The BJP is a communal party and it is not surprising that it has done little to build peace in the affected villages. Curfew was imposed yet again today and therefore police did not allow me to enter the village. But as a minister Meena should have approached the victims.”
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, “I have been in regular touch with the district collector and the IG posted at the trouble-hit zone. I was assured that things are under control. But it is sad that such a situation must arise. CM Vasundhara Raje always maintains this secular image but the incident in Pratapgarh is indicative of the real state of affairs in Rajasthan.”
Defending the government, Health Minister Rajendra Rathore said, “Meena was present at the funeral of the two victims from Moheda village and has been keeping a close watch on the situation. He will visit Kotadi soon. As for the compensation, a basic amount is being given to begin with and if a need is felt it will be increased. We are committed to providing relief to victims.”
With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the BJP government is walking a tightrope. Sources in the district administration said Raje has been taking regular updates from senior police and administrative officials who were rushed to Pratapgarh Tuesday night.