Dr. Meena was arrested and detained in Udaipur five days ago

After a gap of three days, the Rajasthan government on Sunday resumed negotiations with the protesting Minister of State for Khadi and Village Industries, Golma Devi, and her husband and MP from Dausa, Kirorilal Meena, who are on a dharna near the Civil Lines railway crossing here.

Energy Minister Jitendra Singh and Tourism Minister Bina Kak, emissaries of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who had held talks with the couple on the first night of the dharna, carried out fresh talks. Dr. Meena, who was arrested and detained in Udaipur five days back while on his way to adivasi hamlets, wants solatium for the families of those who had allegedly died of hunger.

During the day, Dr. Meena, escorted by Ms. Kak, left the dharna site and visited the residence of Dr. Singh. Though the outcome of the talks was not immediately known, indications are that the Meena couple would be spending another night at the railway crossing.

Mr. Gehlot has appealed, talking to journalists, made an appeal to the couple to end the sit-in.

“Dr. Meena is a respected Member of Parliament, while Ms. Devi is a member of the Council of Ministers. They should hold talks first with Ministers. If needed, with the Home Minister. After that, if necessary I can also talk to them.”

As for Dr. Meena's attempt at making forays into South Rajasthan tribal belt, Mr. Gehlot said the terrain was different from East Rajasthan to which the former belonged. “The Meena community in Udaipur region is different from that of East Rajasthan. We don't want a confrontation there due to Dr. Meena's visit,” Mr. Gehlot said.

The administration stopped Dr. Meena in order to avoid a discord between the two groups as it had happened earlier in East Rajasthan between Meenas and Gujjars during the Gujjar agitation, he observed.

Chandraraj Singhvi, national general secretary of the Janata Dal (United), who was detained at Udaipur along with Dr. Meena, said local Congress politics in Udaipur was the reason for the present situation.

“The Udaipur Adivasis are the followers of the late Socialist leader Mama Baleshewar Dayal and I was taking Dr. Meena to them. Our arrest and eviction from Udaipur town was totally unwarranted,” he said.