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Tension Brews at Jaipur Fort as Meenas Remove Saffron Flag Hoisted by Hindutva Groups

Drizzt

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Three FIRs have been filed, including one against Sudarshan News’s Suresh Chavhanke.


Jaipur: A fort that has long been neglected by both the Union and state governments has emerged as a symbol of tribal identity assertion in Rajasthan, after members of the Meena community pulled down a bhagwa (saffron) flag hoisted there by Hindutva organisations last week.

The 18th-century Ambagarh garrison fort is at the centre of the conflict between the Meena Scheduled Tribe (ST) community and Hindutva organisations backed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and with vocal support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The trouble began earlier this month, when Yuva Shakti Manch, a Hindutva organisation associated with the VHP, hoisted a saffron flag with the words ‘Jai Shri Ram’ inscribed on it, on an electric pole in the premises of the fort.

The Meenas consider the fort sacred as it houses the temple of Aamba Maata, a clan goddess of the community. According to community leaders, hoisting the bhagwa flag with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ inscription hurt the sentiments of the Meenas.

Members of the Meena community, led by independent MLA Ramkesh Meena, gathered at the fort on July 22 and took down the flag. From a video of the incident, it appears that as the flag was being pulled down, a part of it tore off. This led to outrage by Hindutva organisations, as the video went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Both sides filed police complaints against each other at the Transport Nagar police station.


Since then, a war of hashtags between the Meena activists and Hindutva organisations has broken out on social media. While the Meenas say they are asserting their independent identity and resisting attempts at being appropriated under the Hindu religion, saffron activists are expressing outrage over the purported insult to the saffron flag.

The Sudarshan News TV channel and its editor Suresh Chavhanke, who has in the past made incendiary TV programmes, have added fuel to the fire by running a TV campaign for the saffron flag and announcing a massive gathering at Ambagarh to once again hoist the saffron flag there on August 1. Social groups in the state and several users online have accused Chavhanke of running a divisive campaign and using casteist slurs against the Meena community. A Meena youngster has filed a complaint against Chavhanke at the Ramgarh Pachwara police station and has demanded his arrest.

Tribal Army founder Hansraj Meena accused the Hindutva organisations of trying to subvert tribal identity and trying to saffronise the Meena community. “We have also instructed our members to reach Ambagarh on the same day in large numbers and carry a plant and a Tricolour flag to give out the message that we worship mother nature and are patriots,” he said.

Over the past few days, several MLAs, politicians and activists have asked chief minister Ashok Gehlot to intervene in the matter.

Rajkumar Roat, an MLA from the Bhartiya Tribal Party, told The Wire, “This is not new, it’s part of a pattern of attempted saffronisation of tribals. A similar incident had happened at the Sonar Mata temple in Salumbar (near Udaipur) last year, when RSS volunteers had replaced the traditional tribal flag with the bhagwa flag.”

While the state unit of the BJP says it has nothing to do with any social media campaign, party leaders have been tweeting in support of the demands being raised by Hindutva activists.

Laxmikant Bharadwaj, a BJP leader and former spokesperson of the party, has been vocal about the issue. He claimed, “We respect the Aamba Maata temple and the beliefs of the Meenas. Our only point is that the Meenas are a part of the Hindu religion, but some people with vested interests in the community are doing this at the behest of Congress. This is the Congress’s plan to divide Hindus.”

The Adarsh Nagar police station in-charge Neel Kamal said the police were aware of Chavhanke’s statement and will be keeping a close watch on the situation.

About the fort

Ambagarh, also known as Amagarh, was built by Sawai Jai Singh II in the 18th century. However, oral legend says it belonged to the Meenas before that. Before the Kacchwa rulers began ruling Jaipur, the area was inhabited by five confederacies of Meenas or Minas, called the Panch-Wara, according to historian Jadunath Sarkar’s book A History of Jaipur: C. 1503-1938.

Rima Hooja, historian and author of A History of Rajasthan, and several other books on the state, said a lot of forts in the state “show signs of habitation and in some cases early fortification”, prior to whichever date we know they were founded. “For instance, we know that Nahargarh and Jaigarh were mainly built by Sawai Jai Singh II, but Jaigarh already existed in the form of a little fortified space before that and it is believed that the Cheel Ka Tola part of Jaigarh was part of a Meena fortification,” Hooja said.


“So it’s entirely possible that this was true of other forts too. Which is why while Ambagarh was built as a garrison fort by Sawai Jai Singh II in the 18th century, it’s believed that it existed as a Meena fort prior to that,” she adds.

The fort, or what remains of it, lies in a state of ruin, with neither the state department of geology nor the Archaeological Survey of India taking any steps towards its conservation.

https://thewire.in/politics/ambagarh-fort-jaipur-saffron-flag-meena-hindutva
BJP MP hoists community flag at Jaipur's Amagarh Fort, defies Hindutva groups

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan police arrested BJP MP Kirori Lal Meena on Sunday after he hoisted a tribal white-coloured flag despite prohibitory orders at the Amagarh Fort in Jaipur. Police said that Meena has been arrested for disturbing the peace in the area.

Dodging the heavy deployment of police around the fort, Kirodi Lal Meena managed to sneak inside the Amagarh Fort with his supporters and hoisted the flag on Sunday morning. A little later, the Jaipur police took corrective steps and detained the Rajya Sabha MP.


Despite heavy police deployment in and around the fort, Kirodi Lal Meena and his supporters managed to enter the premises and unfurl the flag, following which he was taken into preventive custody by the Rajasthan Police.

In a video shot by his supporters, before the police arrived to detain him, Kirodi Lal Meena said, "Along with dozens of brave Meena youth, we have overcome several challenges to enter the Amagarh Fort and hoisted the flag of the Meena community."

Tensions have been running high in Jaipur for over a week after some Hindutva groups allegedly hoisted a saffron flag atop the Amagarh Fort which was later removed by members of the tribal Meena community who accused right-wing Hindu groups of tampering with their culture. The Amagarh Fort has a temple that is popular among members of the Meena community.

After a video of the removal of the saffron flag went viral, Hindu outfits had raised objections. Controversy erupted as Hindutva groups claimed that Meena community leader and independent MLA Ramkesh Meena had allegedly torn off the saffron flag while it was being removed from the Amagarh Fort. BJP MP Kirodi Lal Meena had accused Ramkesh Meena of misleading the community and creating disharmony. He said also argued that Meenas were Hindus and Ramkesh Meena was distorting facts.

Tensions between the Meenas and Hindu outfits had escalated further over remarks of Sudarshan TV editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke who had threatened to visit the fort on August 1 to once again hoist a saffron flag on the Amagarh Fort.

On Saturday, Chavhanke was booked in a police case in Jaipur for hurting religious sentiments under relevant provisions of the IPC, IT and SC/ST Acts. The FIR against Chavhanke, lodged by Girraj Meena, the head of the Surajpol unit of the Rajasthan Adivasi Meena Seva Sangh, claims that Chavhanke abused the community on his channel and hurt their sentiments.

Given this massive row and fears that tensions may erupt in a big way at the Amagarh on August 1, prohibitory orders were issued. The Jaipur Police had tightened security arrangements to prevent anyone from going to the fort but with MP Kirodi Lal Meena and his supporters sneaking in, the Jaipur police has been left rather red-faced.

MLA Ramkesh Meena said that he has no objection to Kirori Lal hoisting the white flag of the Meena community. The MLA said that they were opposed to Hindutva organizations who had announced that they will hoist a saffron flag in Amagarh. Ramkesh says that since Kirori Lal has hoisted the flag of the Meena community, he has no hard feelings.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/na...garh-fort-defies-hindutva-groups-2338736.html


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Jaipur’s Amagarh Fort: history, and factors leading to current conflict
Members of the Meena community say the Amagarh Fort was built by a Meena ruler predating Rajput rule in Jaipur, and has been their holy site for centuries.


A fort in Jaipur is at the centre of a conflict between the tribal Meena community and local Hindu groups. Both sides have filed police cases and are running social media campaigns to assemble at the fort and show their strength.

What is the dispute?
Members of the Meena community say the Amagarh Fort was built by a Meena ruler predating Rajput rule in Jaipur, and has been their holy site for centuries. Independent MLA Ramkesh Meena said people from the community used to worship Amba Mata and other deities in the fort.

In June, following reports of idols being vandalised and hoisting of a saffron flag at the fort, Meena community members accused Hindu groups of trying to appropriate tribal symbols into the Hindutva fold, and of changing the name of Amba Mata to Ambika Bhawani.

We’ve always aspired to a culture that makes it easy for our team members to work somewhere they...

On July 21, the saffron flag was brought down, and a video of it getting torn in the process went viral on social media. Hindu groups have accused Meena community members of tearing the flag in presence of Ramkesh Meena, while the MLA and other Meena leaders have said that the Hindu groups had agreed to take down the flag after discussions, and that it got accidentally torn while members of Hindu groups were bringing it down.

A Brahmin group too has joined the debate. At a press conference on Thursday, Brahmin Mahasabha president Suresh Mishra, who once contested an election on a Congress ticket, said Ambika Bhawani near the fort belongs to a family of priests conducting rituals here for generations.


What is the history of the fort?
According to historian Rima Hooja, the present form of the Amagarh Fort was given in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur. “It has always been believed that there was some construction at the place before Jai Singh II built the fort,” she said.

Prior to Rajput rule by the Kachhwaha dynasty, Jaipur and its nearby regions were ruled by Meenas, who had political control, she said. She stressed the need for a detailed documentation of the history of the Meena community, now largely oral.

Dr Heera Meena, former assistant professor in Delhi University and a scholar in tribal culture, said the fort was built by a Meena Sardar from the Nadla gotra, now known as Badgoti Meenas. “Sardars from the Meena community ruled large parts of Rajasthan till around 1100 AD,” she said.

She added that Amba Mata is different from Ambika Bhawani. “Like other tribal groups, Meenas too 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,” she said.


What are the police cases filed?
Three FIRs have been registered so far. In June, an FIR at the Transport Nagar police station alleged vandalism and theft of idols. According to ACP Adarsh Nagar Neel Kamal, police detained a group of juveniles from the Muslim community. After the saffron flag was brought down, both sides registered FIRs 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.

Meena community members have maintained that there was “no Hindu-Muslim angle” to the idols being vandalised. MLA Ramkesh Meena has blamed “extreme elements” from Hindu outfits who “wanted an excuse to enter the fort and try to give a communal colour to the incident”.

Why does the Meena community matter in Rajasthan?
The community has substantial clout. Of the 25 Assembly seats (out of 200) reserved for Scheduled Tribes, most are represented by Meena MLAs from both the Congress and BJP. The community is also well represented in the bureaucracy. According to Census 2011, STs constitute 13.48% of the state’s population. Due to a scattered population across the state, the community can influence election outcomes in unreserved seats, too.


Where is the face-off headed?
After videos of the saffron flag being pulled down went viral, supporters of Hindu groups started a hashtag campaign on Twitter, demanding the arrest of Ramkesh Meena. Tribal and Dalit leaders, including Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad, have come out in support of the Meenas.

In a social media campaign, Hindu groups said they will hoist a saffron flag on the fort on August 1, and Meena community members said they will stop any such effort. The Jaipur police have said the fort and its adjacent areas belong to the Forest Department and nobody would be allowed to assemble there.


“The majoritarian section of the population tries to distribute their symbols in such a way that the other sections will become a part of it. We can see this when Hindu groups try to assimilate tribal symbols,” said Rajeev Gupta, former professor of sociology, University of Rajasthan.

https://indianexpress.com/article/e...-factors-leading-to-current-conflict-7429178/
 
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Sudarshan

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So one can’t raise their saffron flags? And the disrespect that was done to it? What about that?
 

Sudarshan

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This fat Hippo Suresh Chavanke just called all Meena ... Kameena .. on live TV. His days are numbered
He’s an idiot that’s for sure, but still they should not have disrespected that symbol.
 

El Sidd

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They should secede to Sindh.

Much of the tribal people there are rendered stateless by the new laws anyways.
 
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first of all this Chauhanke guy needs to be locked for good, for a long time. and I wouldn't support it, but there's a good chance he's going to be badly beaten up.
 

Species

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The caste divisions among Hindus are surely getting deeper in India. Few days back, I saw an Indian, that too from West Bengal, harshly criticizing an inter-caste marriage on social media.
 

jamahir

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This fat Hippo Suresh Chavanke just called all Meena ... Kameena .. on live TV. His days are numbered
He is the same foul mouth who last year claimed that Indian Muslims were in an insidious "UPSC Jihad" to enter Indian civil services and break up India from within its institutions / bureaucracy.
 

SUVdaddy

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He is the same foul mouth who last year claimed that Indian Muslims were in an insidious "UPSC Jihad" to enter Indian civil services and break up India from within its institutions / bureaucracy.
Didn't indian madrassa wer demanding to be a acceptable board of education for upsc ??

And it's unfair to blame only indian muslim , as many people like Syed akbaruddin are patriotic , it's basically liberal (pseudo communist ) and communist to blame here , they are the worst of all , stalin once claimed ,that of all communists indian communist are biggest idiot as they want to destroy everything to create from root onwards .

Basically indian communist are US wokes rebranded in red flag
 

Drizzt

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The caste divisions among Hindus are surely getting deeper in India. Few days back, I saw an Indian, that too from West Bengal, harshly criticizing an inter-caste marriage on social media.
Assam CM Says 'Jihad Also When Hindu Man Marries Girl By Cheating'; Backs Love Jihad Law
https://www.republicworld.com/india...es-girl-by-cheating-backs-love-jihad-law.html

Yes, it will also be considered a love Jihad if a OBC SC ST marries a upper caste girl. Now, BJP has been in power for sometime with comfortable majority, upper castes are planning to target OBC SC ST next.
 

Drizzt

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He is the same foul mouth who last year claimed that Indian Muslims were in an insidious "UPSC Jihad" to enter Indian civil services and break up India from within its institutions / bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, nothing can be done until upper caste parties like BJP & Congress are removed from power. Huge task is at hand to sensitize OBC SC ST and minority voters all over India about BJP & Congress.

I wish there was national media for OBC SC ST, even shits like this Suresh Chauhanke has media.
There is a plan to make a OTT platform, which will act as news media with reporters in every block in India.

Upper caste Hindutwa brigade have been dealt a crushing defeat at Amagarh fort. I don't think they will dare to venture anywhere near Amagarh fort with their Vedic shit in the future.
 

jamahir

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as many people like Syed akbaruddin are patriotic
Akbaruddin is a motormouth. Remember his "15 minutes" speech ?

And his elder brother, Asaduddin, has to find courage. He didn't help that girl Amulya Leona when she shouted "Zindabad" for all South Asian countries on that stage in Bangalore. She was arrested under sedition charge. Article link.

it's basically liberal (pseudo communist ) and communist to blame here , they are the worst of all , stalin once claimed ,that of all communists indian communist are biggest idiot as they want to destroy everything to create from root onwards .
I am a Communist and I agree that current Indian Communists have to be more innovative and not stick to traditional dogma like many Indian students stick to text book knowledge.

Assam CM Says 'Jihad Also When Hindu Man Marries Girl By Cheating'; Backs Love Jihad Law
I wonder what if there is no cheating. The man and girl, either both Hindus or of different religion marrying but not converting to each other's religion. Will their individual wish to be with each other be respected ?

I wish there was national media for OBC SC ST, even shits like this Suresh Chauhanke has media.
There is a plan to make a OTT platform, which will act as news media with reporters in every block in India.
Agreed.

Upper caste Hindutwa brigade have been dealt a crushing defeat at Amagarh fort. I don't think they will dare to venture anywhere near Amagarh fort with their Vedic shit in the future.
Good interview. Learnt some new things.
 

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