A day after Dalit protests triggered violence in different parts of the country, fresh violence broke out in Rajasthan as a mob set ablaze the houses of a sitting MLA and a former MLA — both Dalits — in Hindaun, in Karauli district, about 160 km from Jaipur, during counter-protests on Tuesday morning. Police said the mob also tried to attack a Dalit settlement.
“Yesterday, a crowd of about 15,000-20,000 protesters, who were in favour of the Bharat Bandh, created a ruckus in several areas like Gangapur in Sawai Madhopur and Hindaun in Karauli. Today, traders, businessmen and non-Scheduled Caste people took out a rally against yesterday’s violence,” said Inspector General of Police, Bharatpur range, Alok Kumar Vashishtha.
“Defying prohibitory orders imposed in the area, they tried to enter a Jatav settlement. Police had to intervene,” he said. “The mob of 3,000-4,000 people also attacked the houses of MLA Rajkumari Jatav and former MLA Bharosi Lal Jatav. The police were outnumbered. The houses were set on fire, several police personnel were injured,” said Vashishtha.
“The mob wanted to go towards the Jatav settlement but were dispersed by the police. They, however, targeted the houses of the two politicians,” said Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, N R K Reddy.
While Rajkumari Jatav is the local BJP MLA, Bharosi Lal Jatav was a minister in the previous Congress government in Rajasthan.
“On Monday, a few vehicles owned by our family were torched. Today, my house was set on fire. The police remained silent spectators. Fortunately, I left for Delhi in the morning, and my family has gone to Mathura, which is why we were saved. Miscreants who break the law have no caste,” said Bharosi Lal Jatav.
IGP Vashishtha said 45 people had been arrested for Tuesday’s violence, while another 50 were arrested for the protests in Bharatpur on Monday. “Curfew has been imposed in Hindaun and Internet services have been suspended in the district. We are identifying the miscreants and some of them have been detained. Extra police personnel have been deployed, and the situation is under control,” he said.
According to police, about 1,000 people have been arrested across the state for the violence on Monday. “We have registered 172 cases so far,” said Reddy.
Meanwhile, the death toll rose to 10 on Tuesday — seven in Madhya Pradesh, two in Uttar Pradesh and one in Rajasthan. These three states, along with Punjab, were the worst hit during Monday’s protests against the alleged move to dilute the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
A 35-year-old Sub-Inspector, Mahendra Choudhary, who suffered a heart attack during the protests in Jodhpur on Monday, also died today.