Tension gripped Barmer district’s Balotra town on Thursday after a former Congress MLA, accused of mishandling a state government official, was arrested.
Madan Prajapat was arrested from the spot where thousands of people, including Congress workers, were protesting against the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation’s (RIICO) anti-encroachment drive in Balotra, about 100 km from district headquarters.
His arrest prompted protesting Congress workers to attack security personnel with stone. Police carried out lathi-charge and used tear gas to control the situation.
On Tuesday, Prajapat slapped RIICO’s regional manager Praveen Gupta when the officer was leading an anti-encroachment drive at Balotra industrial area. Police action came after Gupta filed a complaint against Prajapat.
Barmer police chief Anil Deshmukh told the media that strict action would be taken against the people behind the violence. While Barmer collector Sudheer Sharma said the situation was under control.
Meanwhile, the Congress strongly condemned police action against its workers and supporters. Congress national secretary and former Barmer MP Harish Choudhary said it was condemnable that police have carried out lathi-charge and used tear gas on peaceful protesters. He said the Congress would continue its protest.