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Barmer BJP, Congress leaders in blame game over Bharat bandh violence

The BJP and the Congress blamed each other for the violence during the April 2 Bharat bandh called by Dalit organisations protesting the Supreme Court’s ruling that, they say, dilutes a law protecting their rights, even as normalcy has returned to Rajasthan’s Barmer district

jaipur Updated: Apr 06, 2018 21:12 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times
Rajsthan news,BJP,Cong
Protesters in Jaipur during a Bharat bandh on April 2 called by Dalit organisations against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST (prevention of atrocities) Act. (HT File Photo)

The BJP and the Congress blamed each other for the violence during the April 2 Bharat bandh called by Dalit organisations protesting the Supreme Court’s ruling that, they say, dilutes a law protecting their rights, even as normalcy has returned to Rajasthan’s Barmer district.

BJP leader and chairperson of Barmer urban improvement trust Priyanka Choudhary alleged that Congress leaders misled protesters and provoked violence to get political mileage in poll-bound states.

Nine persons were killed in the country, including one in Rajasthan, during the nationwide bandh against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act.

“A day before the protests, I met many people from SC/ST communities who said that Congress leaders told them that the BJP government at the Centre is going to end reservation, and that’s the reason for the protests,” Choudhary said, adding Congress leaders misled the people by telling them a lie.

“It was a planned conspiracy and part of dirty politics of the Congress, which created rift among communities and caused loss to property and disturbed law and order,” she alleged.

Choudhary also blamed the authorities for their failure to handle the situation. “Despite being informed, authorities remained negligent and took the movement lightly, due to which it turned violent.”

Reacting to Choudhary’s allegation, Congress MLA Mevaram Jain said BJP leaders were leading the protest. He named Aaduram Meghwal (former district BJP president), Mohan Kurdiya (BJP nagar mandal president) and Laxman Badera (BJP leader).

“Before the protest, Congress leaders appealed for peaceful march. A party delegation recently met the authorities, urging for action against those behind the violence and not to harass innocent people,” Jain said.

Choudhary said, “BJP leadership never supported such incidents. If any BJP leader is found responsible for the violence, the party will demand action against them.”

Instigators on police radar

A video has come handy for Barmer police to identify the instigators of violence. “We have got a video footage in which some people were seen distributing sticks to the demonstrators,” superintendent of police Gagandeep Singla said. “We are investigating the matter, after which action will be taken.”

Meanwhile, Barmer district administration organised a meeting of a peace committee compromising members of various communities. Section 144 has remained in force in parts of the district.

Appealing for help to normalise the situation, Barmer collector Shivprasad Nakate and Singla said action would be taken against the people responsible for the violence. “Innocent people need not to worry,” Nakate said.

The administration set up a control room and appealed to people to share information about those who instigated the protesters to turn violent.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 21:12 IST