Jats clash with Dalits in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, several injured

The Jats have blamed the Dalits for digging boundaries in their fields, while the Dalits say that they didn’t do any such thing. The argument in Mangalpura village escalated into a caste conflict

NH Photo
NH Photo

Bhanwar Meghvanshi

The morning of June 27 turned into a nightmare for the Dalits of Mangalpura, Rajasthan, when a minor argument escalated into a caste conflict.

Mangalpura is part of the Bhilwara district city council area, with its residents hailing from several communities. Most of the youth from the Jat community are active in organisations like Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, VHP, etc.

On the fateful morning of June 27, some youth from the Jat community attacked people from the Dalit community. Many people got injured in the incident.

The report recorded by the victim, Saira Bali, states that at 8:30 in the morning, some of her neighbors, including Shivram Jat, Shankar Lal Jat, Gopal Jat, Radheshyam Jat and Raju Jat, armed with sticks, entered the house and attacked the family. They also hurled caste abuses. The accused were blaming the Dalits for digging boundaries in their fields, while the Dalits say that they didn’t do any such thing.

Dalit victims have alleged that Jats especially targeted the Dalit women.

“They dragged women out of the house, beat them up and tore their clothes. One of the accused even sat on a woman after tearing off her clothes. A pregnant Dalit woman, Maya, was seriously injured after she got hit in her stomach and head. She has been admitted to the district hospital,” a victim said.

A dozen Dalits have been injured in this attack. According to eyewitness, Jats, assaulted Dalits for 40 minutes.

According to local police, an old land dispute led to this incident.

The cops say they have received complaints from both sides. “People from both sides have got hurt. Medicals test have been conducted on injured people. Two Jat youth, Shankar Lal and Shivraj, have been arrested for disrupting peace,” a police officer said.

The victims have alleged that police deliberately delayed taking up their complaint. People from Jat community of Mangalpura village have alleged that it were Dalits who started the fight.

Caste conflict right before the assembly elections in Bhilwara district, which is already suffering from Dalit persecution and communal tension, could alter the political equations. It could also create major difficulties for candidates from the two major parties.

The echo of this Jat-Dalit conflict in the district is being heard all around. The intellectuals, leaders and caste Panchayats of the Jat community have given a very cautious reaction to the incident. Some state level Jat leaders have condemned the incident.

Blaming the failed state of law and order of BJP government in the state, Dalit organizations have demanded a strong action against the accused.

(The author is a social worker and freelance journalist. The article has been translated into English by Zaheeb Ajmal).

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Published: 27 Jun 2018, 9:17 PM