Anandpal Singh encounter: Caste politics prevails over party loyalties in Rajasthan
The caste of man died in firing at Sanvrad changed, so did the leaders demanding justice for him.
Jaipur: Debates over deep-rooted caste system in Rajasthan are nothing new, but the way politicians are crossing party lines and standing on the common ground for the cause’ of bringing ‘justice’ to Ananpal Singh, the gangster who was killed in a police encounter, has taken the debate to an entirely new level.
Congress leader in Rajasthan Pratap Singh Khachariyawas has offered a compensation of Rs 51,000 to the family members of Anandpal Singh whose properties – worth in the excess of Rs 300 crore – were attached by the police. The wealth had been amassed allegedly through extortion and kidnapping, police officials claim.
The case of mistaken identity is also quite interesting. The man who was killed in the firing at Sanvrad village of Nagaur district on July 12 was first believed to be Lalchand Sharma, a Brahmin, based on his alleged ‘dying statement’ to the police.
After realizing that nobody was standing for the Brahmin man, some leaders from the community who were till then watching the entire drama from the sidelines (because the matter of Anandpal Singh encounter didn’t concern Brahmins) wedged themselves into the picture. They demanded justice for Sharma. But the man eventually turned out to be a Rajput. He was Surendra Singh, not Lalchand Sharma. The caste changed, so did the leaders demanding justice for him.
Khachariyawas offered a compensation of Rs 51,000 to the family members of the man as soon as he was identified as Surendra Singh.
What Khachariyawas is doing is justified because he is a Congress leader, but many BJP leaders and the party’s die hard loyalists have also jumped in the fray against the injustice being meted out to the Rajput community.
Senior BJP leader and MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi has written a letter to BJP’s national president Amit Shah. Rajvi has sought Shah’s intervention, accusing the Rajasthan police of acting arbitrarily against Rajput community.
Rajvi said that the public meeting at Sanvrad was called with permission from the administration, but unexpected number of people gathered there, causing a law and order situation. It was handled badly by the police, resulting in the death of a man, he alleged. Several others were injured.
Rajvi alleged that Rajput community leaders were being harassed since the firing. They are being dragged to police stations and threatened, he alleged.
Rajvi warned that ninety percent of the Rajput community electorates had been supporting BJP in the elections, but now these very electorates were feeling ‘cheated’.
“I am writing to you to bring your attention towards the party’s neglect towards the community,” Rajvi wrote in the letter.
Even Rajvi’s stand is justified to some extent. Rajavi has voiced his dissidence against Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje from time to time. In her second tenure, beginning December 2013, Raje had refused to make Rajvi a minister and her government even asked him to vacate the house earmarked for Bhairon Singh Shekhawat as ex-chief minister.
Joining the protest against the alleged harsh stand taken by the government against the community is Padmini Devi, a member of the ex-royal family, who is held in high esteem in the community. She wrote to Rajasthan DGP and chief secretary, demanding a probe. She condemned the incident of police entering Rajput Bhawan and harassing civilized people present there.
Many of the community leaders who are mobilizing people against the police encounter of Anandpal Singh are die-hard loyalists of Raje.