Saturday, September 21, 2002

32 hurt as dalit demonstrators clash with police in Rajasthan

Jaipur

At least 32 people, including a Superintendent of Police and 14 other policemen, were injured when a group of dalits protesting alleged denial of access to a pond and a temple by the upper castes in a Rajasthan village, clashed with police about 40 kms from here on Saturday. State Home Minister Gulab Singh Shaktawat said while two of the injured sustained bullet wounds, 15 policemen were injured in stone pelting by the dalits and equal number of protestors when police fired rubber bullets to disperse them.

Trouble started this morning when hundreds of dalits began a march from Chaksu to Chakwara village, where they alleged the upper caste people were not allowing them to enter a temple, a public pond and were enforcing social and economic boycott of Bairwas.

As police tried to stop them at Phagi road, in between Chaksu and Chakwara, they pelted stones on them injuring 15 policemen, including an SP, and damaging a police vehicle. The protestors gheraoed a police station demanding permission to proceed with the march prompting police to fire rubber bullets in which 15 people from the mob were injured. As rubber bullets failed to disperse the demonstrators, police opened fire in which one person was hit on the leg and one in his hand, Shaktawat said.

He said prohibitory orders have been clamped and additional police force rushed to the area to maintain law and order. Efforts were also being made to organise a meeting of the dalits with the upper caste people of Chakwara.

Source: Press Trust of India, September 21, 2002

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