BJP MP Dr Kirori Lal Meena was detained by Jaipur police on Sunday, 1 August, after he hoisted a Meena community flag on one of the ramparts of Amagarh Fort, which has become the centre of a growing conflict between the Meena community and Hindu groups.
His arrest immediately brought strong reactions from veteran leaders like former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Former Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and many more who accused the Congress government of playing politics to divide the community.
What is the Dispute?
In June, a few reports said that idols were vandalised in Amagarh Fort. Meena community members started accusing Hindu groups of trying to appropriate tribal symbols into the Hindutva fold, and of changing the name of Amba Mata to Ambika Bhawani.
The first signs of conflict regarding the fort emerged in June 2021 when a saffron flag was hoisted on the fort and a few idols were allegedly vandalised.
On 23 July, a group of people from the Meena community in Rajasthan took down the saffron flag that was hoisted on top of the Amagarh Fort in Jaipur in Independent MLA Ramkesh Meena's presence.
However, the Hindu group has accused the Meena community of tearing down the flag. However, according to an Indian Express report, the flag accidentally tore while members of the Hindu group were bringing it down.
“When I was informed about a flag hoisted atop the hill. I went there and enquired the forest guards about the incident. Soon, people who had installed the flag arrived, they admitted their mistake and agreed to take it down,” reported The Times of India, quoting MLA Meena.
A Brahmin group too has joined the debate and its leaders say that Ambika Bhawani near the fort belongs to a family of priests conducting rituals here for generations.
History of Amagarh Fort
The Meena community identifies themselves as tribals with a separate set of codes. The community considers Amagarh Fort as one of their holy cites and state that it was built by a Meena ruler before the Rajputs ruled Jaipur.
According to an Indian Express report, the fort was built by a Meena Sardar from the Nala gotta, now the Badgoti Meena.
The report states that prior to Rajput rule in Jaipur, the Meena community ruled nearby regions and held the political control. Speaking to Indian Express, historian Rima Hooja states that the history of the Meena community in the region is largely oral in nature.
MLA Ramkesh has stated that people from the community would worship Amba Mata and other deities in the fort, which was later converted into Ambika Mata Temple.
“Like other tribal groups, Meenas also worship ancestors. Amba Mata was such an ancestor, a living person and not a God. Amba Mata is not related to Ambika Bhawani or Durga. An effort is being made by Hindu organisations to appropriate Amba Mata as Ambika Bhawani,” reported The Indian Express, quoting Dr Heera Meena, former assistant professor in Delhi University and a scholar in tribal culture.
Police Cases Filed So Far
According to an Indian Express report, both Meena and Hindu community groups have registered FIR’s against the other after the saffron flag was brought down.
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.
A hashtag campaign started by supporters of Hindu groups has been created, demanding the arrest of MLA Ramkesh Meena. According to a Times of India report, local police has been deployed at the fort at present.
(With inputs from IANS, The Times of India, The Indian Express)
. Read more on India by The Quint.How Amagarh Fort Became the Centre of Conflict Between Two CommunitiesDay 10, Tokyo Olympics LIVE: Kamalpreet Kaur's Discus Final at 4.30 pm . Read more on India by The Quint.