Even though an intelligence report warned about rising tension between Meos and Gujjars three weeks before the police firing, the Chief Minister refused to act
The Rajasthan government did not act on intelligence reports about communal tension building up between Meos and Gujjars in Gopalgarh, Bharatpur district, over a land transfer as early as August 21, an INDIA TODAY investigation reveals. The inputs went unheeded by the government, ultimately resulting in police firing that killed 10 Meos on September 14.
The intelligence report was sent by the office of additional superintendent of police ( CID), Bharatpur, to Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) D.S. Dinkar in Jaipur and sent to then collector Krishan Kunal’s office in Bharatpur. Within two days, Kunal directed the superintendent of police ( SP) and revenue officials to attach the disputed property and appoint a government receiver if tensions escalated. Dinkar refused to talk to INDIA TODAY but it is understood that he had said at a highlevel meeting held after the incident that his department had alerted the government in time.
Shockingly, when Chief
IT TOOK GEHLOT 11 DAYS TO VISIT THE SITE OF POLICE FIRING IN GOPALGARH.
Minister Ashok Gehlot chaired a security meeting on September 13, neither the information on Gopalgarh, where a maulvi had been beaten up in the meantime, nor an outbreak of unrest in nearby Zurera over rumours of the custodial death of a Meo criminal on September 13, was discussed.
On September 28, Gehlot placed Kunal and Bharatpur SP Hinglaj Dan under suspension after FIRS for murders were lodged against them, two days before Congress President Sonia Gandhi summoned him to Delhi for an explanation. Then additional chief secretary (home) P.K. Deb opposed the suspensions and went on leave. He was subsequently shifted out of the home department.
The chief minister’s office had been regularly interfering in Bharatpur police postings. It had orally instructed the collector and the SP not to give field duties to Additional SP O.P. Meghwal because Zahida Begum, Congress MLA from Kama in Bharatpur and daughter of late Meo leader Tayyab Hussein, had accused Meghwal of implicating her husband Jalees Khan in a rape case, senior police officers in Bharatpur and Jaipur said. Additional SP Bharat Kumar Meena was kept away from problems involving Gujjars because of his caste. More than once, Kunal and other officials told the government that Dan, Meghwal and Meena have lost their authority in the public eye.
This explains why no senior police officers were involved in the firing. Constables were reportedly firing indiscriminately in the absence of clear command structure. At noon on the day of firing, Gehlot was attending a function in Khandar, which falls in Bharatpur division. He returned to Jaipur a little after the Gopalgarh firing began. The Chief Minister started issuing instructions three hours later. It took him 11 days to finally visit the site of firing. The district administration was in a shambles by then. It continues to be so with Meos boycotting Hindu shops and not sending their children to school.
THE MOSQUE WHERE POLICE
FIRING KILLED 10 MEOS