Gujjars, Meenas clash in Rajasthan

Special Correspondent

JAIPUR: Tension gripped the Gujjar-Meena dominant areas in Rajasthan on Thursday after both communities took a few members of the other captive following a fracas near Chirawata in Sawai Madhopur district during the day.

The incidents, in which no casualties were reported till evening, led to the blockade of the Jaipur-Gangapur highway by a group of persons, led by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, near Kherli.

About a dozen persons who sustained injuries were referred to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur. Reports received here said those in captivity included children.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who reviewed the situation with Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and senior officials, has appealed to both the communities to maintain peace and release those who were kept in confinement. Sawai Madhopur Superintendent of Police Vishal Bansal is camping in the area, negotiating the release of those in captivity.

Bamanwas happens to be the home town of Rajasthan’s Director-General of Police Harish Meena. Mr. Meena, who was on a month’s leave as per the requirement of the model code of conduct, as his brother Union Minister Namonarain Meena was contesting the Lok Sabha election from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, resumed duty only a day earlier.

The day’s incidents were triggered when a group of persons, reportedly Meenas, hurled stones in the afternoon on vehicles, in which Gujjars were moving to Kherli in Bamanwas tehsil for a religious ceremony. While the rest of the vehicles carrying over 500 persons passed without much damage, one vehicle belonging to a Gujjar from Nadauti tehsil was detained by the mob, and the passengers — said to be five or six in number — were held captive. The vehicle was set on fire. Elsewhere a tractor belonging to a Meena was set ablaze. The Gujjars took their captives — said to be two in number — in retaliation. Now both the groups have made the release of those in custody of the other a condition for release of their own captives.

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