Bhopal: The main accused in the alleged murder during the Gwalior caste violence case that happened on April 2, 2018—Rishabh Bhadoriya—is organising a conference of kshatriya (upper caste Hindu) community leaders where a Union Minister, two cabinet ministers of state, a former minister and members of legislative assembly are named as chief guests.
According to the official press note, Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar; Cabinet Ministers of Madhya Pradesh Congress government, Dr Govind Singh and Pradhuman Singh Tomar; former Higher Education Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya; veteran Congress leader and son of former CM Arjun Singh, Ajay Singh; along with a number of other Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators are the chief guests of the event.
The ‘Kshatriya Samagam 2019 – Dussehra Milan and Felicitation Event’ is scheduled to take place on October 22, 2019, at Gwalior’s JYMS Club Ground. Besides political leaders, the leaders of the 11 kshatriya communities, including members of Karni Sena are going to participate in the event, the pamphlet of the event said.
However, the organiser, Rishabh Bhadoriya is accused of allegedly killing Deepak Jatav (25) of Galla-Kotha (Gwalior) and creating riot with deadly weapons during the violence. He is associated with the Karni Sena and is on bail.
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Violence had erupted during the Bharat bandh called by various dalit groups against a Supreme Court order diluting the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. In Madhya Pradesh, seven people including five dalits were killed in Chambal region alone.
Rishabh is the main accused in the violence that had taken place in Gwalior. His video of opening fire during the violence had gone viral on social media and was widely shared by national television. Days after the incident, Rishabh was arrested on April 7, 2018, in connection to the case registered at Thatipur police station in Gwalior for offence punishable under section 302, 147, 148, 149 of the IPC and section 3(2)(V) of SC/ST Act. Later on, section 25/27 was added upon investigation.
But, he was granted bail a few months ago by the lower court after signing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 with two solvent sureties of same amount. The court had said that if he does not appear on the date of hearing, his bail would be revoked.
The Bharat Bandh had shaken the nation, with violence breaking out in several states. Especially, Hindi-speaking states – Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Jharkhand – were highly affected. However, Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior-Chambal region was the worst affected.
Ironically, according to the pamphlet, Dinesh Singh Chouhan, an officer in Gwalior Crime Branch police is also the co-organiser of the event along with Rishabh.
When contacted, district head of Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha and member of organising committee Gopal Singh Tomar justified his presence in the event by saying, “Rishabh is still an accused and has not been proved a criminal. His matter is still before the court.”
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On being asked why the community is not barring his attendance from such events where Union Minister and sitting ministers are participating, until he is proven not guilty by the court, Tomar said, “Samaj (Kshatriya) nahi manta ke usne koi apradh kiya hai, (The community doesn’t believe that he has committed any crime). That is why, he is able to organise the event and also has the support of the community.”
A dalit community leader, Rambabu Jatav, who has been fighting for dalit rights in the Chambal region of the state, expressed his strong objection to such events by saying, “ItW’s like a slap in our face. Our men were killed, we have been attacked and our homes were ransacked. Yet, FIRs were filed against us. While the dalits of Chambal region are still living in fear, the main accused of the violence, who is out on bail, is holding an event and Union and state ministers are the chief guests in it. This not only shocking, but, a shameful thing.”
“Instead of teaching a lesson by isolating him from the community, they (Kshatriyas) are considering him as a hero. Ministers and political leaders should boycott the event,” he added.
Talking over phone, Jatav also hinted that the accused has good connections with Union Minister Tomar, who has also been helping him in the case.
Gwalior SP Navneet Bhasin could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Also read: Dalits From UP, MP and Rajasthan Still Remain in Police Custody For Bharat Bandh Protests