The Rajasthan police on Thursday arrested 209 members of the Gujjar community for their role in the weeklong violent agitation in the state last week and slapped 264 cases on them for various crimes including murder, rioting, looting weapons, burning police stations and destroying public property.
"The total number of the arrests so far is 209 and 264 cases have been registered against the agitators. If the nature of the offences is of minor nature then courts will automatically release them,” Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria told HT.
Principal Secretary (Home) VS Singh said the arrests were not linked to the apex court’s directive. "Such arrests are normally made after any agitation and ‘challans’ put up in the courts, which will be done in these cases also."
Gujjar Sanghrash Samiti (GSS) leaders reacted sharply to the arrests saying they had conveyed their anger to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who in turn had assured to look into the matter.
GSS chairman Col Kirori Singh Bainsala said: "We fail to understand the logic behind these arrests specially when it was agreed to withdraw the cases registered against the demonstrators."
"Instead, fresh cases are being registered and a large number of agitators have been arrested by the police, which must be stopped,” Bainsala said.
Kataria clarified that no arrests had been made after the signing of agreement on June 4 and police had registered the cases against those who indulged in violence during the agitation. He also clarified that cases against the GSS chairman and his associates were filed on May 29 at Todhabhim in Kauroli district for the blockade of the Agra road and murder of policeman.
State CPI(M) secretary Vasudeva condemned the arrests saying they were aimed at terrorising the Gujjars who had participated in the movement.
He demanded that cases should be also be registered against police officials who had ordered firing during the agitation that killed more than two dozen people, as well as against BJP ministers and MLAs who had issued provocative statements during the agitation.