Damage control: After clearing air on Gujjar quota, Rajasthan govt to withdraw cases against Rajputs

On Monday, the government came out with clarifications regarding the OBC (other backward classes) and MBC (most backward classes) reservations for the Gujjars, prompting the pastoral community to withdraw its call to protest during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s July 7 Jaipur visit.

jaipur Updated: Jul 03, 2018 22:01 IST
Rajasthan,Gujjars,Rajputs
Rajputs protest against what they called police encounter of Anandpal Singh at the gangster’s village Sanwrad in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district. Police registered 24 cases against Rajputs over violence during the protest. (HT File Photo)

The Rajasthan government is in a damage-limitation mode, with assembly elections due by the year-end. In two days, it has taken two major decisions to minimise damage that may be caused by the Rajputs and the Gujjars, the two communities that have traditionally been BJP supporters but are miffed with the party of late.

On Monday, the government came out with clarifications regarding the OBC (other backward classes) and MBC (most backward classes) reservations for the Gujjars, prompting the pastoral community to withdraw its call to protest during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s July 7 Jaipur visit.

On Monday itself, the government made up its mind to withdraw cases against the Rajputs.

The Rajasthan police registered 24 cases against Rajputs after violence at Sanwrad village in Nagaur district in July last year. Rajput leaders, such as Giriraj Singh Lotwara and Lokendra Singh Kalvi, were booked for rioting, inciting mob and wrongful confinement during their protest against what they called police encounter of Anandpal Singh, a Rajput with a long list of criminal cases.

On Monday evening, some Rajput leaders from the BJP met the chief minister to demand withdrawal of cases in which ‘innocent’ youths from the community were named.

“Thousands of youths were booked in the cases because they took part in an agitation to protest Anandpal Singh’s police encounter,” said Surendra Singh Shekhawat, state coordinator of training cell of the BJP Yuva Morcha. “We requested the CM to sympathetically consider withdrawing the cases. She has agreed to withdraw the cases as per the rules.”

Out of the 24 cases, three have been referred to the CBI. Of the remaining 21, police have filed closure in eight.

“The government said it will file charge sheets in the remaining 13 cases and then the district collectors will file applications in trial courts for withdrawal of cases,” Shekhawat added.

Home secretary Deepak Upreti and additional director general of police (crime) PK Singh were present in the meeting. The delegation of Rajput leaders included BJP leader Rajendra Singh Bhiyad, BJP cooperative cell’s state president Jagdish Singh Ladnun, former pradhan (block level panchayat body chief) Ajit Singh Bhati, state coordinator of Yuva Morcha’s Youth Chala Booth campaign Lokendra Singh Rajawat, Sikar zila parishad member Jitendra Singh Karanga, Rajput Sabha member Dilip Singh Ghoribara and advocate Kan Singh Rathore.

Shree Rajput Sabha president Giriraj Singh Lotwara, who is among the named accused in the three cases sent to the CBI, rubbished government’s efforts to appease the Rajputs.

“The government is meeting people who don’t represent the community. It signed an agreement with the Sanwrad Sangharsh Samiti but has failed to fulfil the promises it made to us,” he said.

Sources in the government said the government refused to get into any dialogue with the sangharsh samiti leadership because it canvassed against the BJP in Ajmer and Alwar by-elections earlier this year. The samiti leaders are also holding press conferences across the state against the BJP. These moves have not gone down well with the government, sources said.

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 22:01 IST