An 18th-century fort in Jaipur is now at the centre of a dispute between the tribal Meena community and Hindu outfits with tensions escalating over the last two months and police bracing for a possible confrontation triggered by calls for hoisting a saffron flag at the site this week.
Leaders of the Meena community have accused local Hindu outfits of allegedly trying to tamper with tribal culture and appropriate tribal symbols at Amagarh fort. The Hindu outfits, meanwhile, have hit out at the Meenas for allegedly taking down a saffron flag from the fort last week and issued calls on social media for followers to reach the fort on August 1 to hoist another flag.
ACP Adarsh Nagar Neel Kamal said that following an FIR registered in June on this issue, police detained a group of juveniles from the Muslim community.
“The Amagarh fort was made by Meena rulers several hundred years ago. Inside the fort, there are several deities worshipped by the Meena community such as Amba Devi, Bhairu ji and Shiv Parivar. Recently, some of these idols were stolen and vandalised. Later, we came to know that some people installed a tall saffron flag over the fort,” said independent MLA from Gangapur City, Ramkesh Meena, who is also the state president of the Rajasthan Adivasi Meena Seva Sangh.
The MLA insisted that there was “no Hindu-Muslim angle” to the idols being vandalised. He blamed “extreme elements” from Hindu outfits for the idols being vandalised “because they wanted an excuse to enter the fort and try to give communal colour to the incident”.
The latest escalation was triggered by a video that went viral on social media last week, where a group of people is seen trying to take down a saffron flag from the fort — the flag is seen getting torn.
“The religious beliefs of the Hindu community have been hurt by the way the saffron flag was torn down. When the idols were vandalised, there were no persons from the Meena community present there,” said Bharat Sharma, patron, Dharohar Bachao Samiti, Jaipur.
Following the incident involving the flag on July 21, the Meena community and Hindu outfits registered counter FIRs. Both the FIRs have been registered under IPC section 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and sections of the IT Act.