The police officer was part of the police team that gunned down Anandpal Singh last year on June 24.
Jaipur: The BJP government’s decision to transfer or remove police officers who were involved in the encounter of gangster Anand Pal Singh has snowballed into a major political controversy. The Jat community in Kuchaman City in Nagaur district is going to organise a “swabhiman rally” on Wednesday to express solidarity with deputy SP Vidyaprakash. The police officer was part of the police team that gunned down Anandpal Singh last year on June 24.
The CBI has been investigating his encounter as his family alleged that it was a fake encounter. The Rajput community had raised a hue and cry over it and the state government under pressure from one of its core votebank handed over the case to CBI.
Anandpal Singh was a dreaded gangster who had several cases of murder, loot, kidnapping and extortion in many districts; however, for the Rajput community he was a symbol of pride as well as resistance against social, economic and political influence of the Jat community.
Anandpal had shot to fame and acquired cult status among the youth in his community by eliminating his rivals in crime — especially lucrative business of liquor smuggling — of which most were Jats. Hence, his death caused anger among Rajputs who saw it as a conspiracy that had tacit support of Jat politicians from the BJP. As a fallout, the Rajputs declared their Opposition to the BJP in the February bypolls on two Lok Sabha seats and an Assembly constituency, which the BJP lost.
To understand why the Jat community is agitated over a police officer’s removal and why it is being linked to a gangster’s encounter, both will have to be looked in the historical and social context of Jat-Rajput equations in the state.
In Rajasthan, Jats and Rajputs do not see eye-to-eye. The centuries-old rivalry between the feudal and the peasant caste has spilled into modern-day politics post Independence. The Jats were politically influential but after getting into OBC, the dominance has extended to bureaucracy and business in the last two decades, which has been a cause of resentment among Rajputs who have been demanding reservation since Jat got OBC reservation but without any success.