On April 12, the administration extended curfew for one more day at Chhabra, Baran district in Rajasthan after the riot. The administration imposed the curfew after communal riots erupted in the region on April 11 following a stabbing incident. As per reports, Kamal Singh Gurjar was stabbed by Fareed, Aabid and Sameer on April 10 during an argument over car parking.
Vineet Bansal, Superintendent of Police, Baran, said that the police and district administration had a meeting with representatives from both communities and urged them to maintain peace. He further added that the shopkeepers and traders affected by the violence had been asked to file Police complaints so that necessary action can be taken. So far, Police has registered over six FIRs connected to Sunday violence. He assured the representatives that those who were involved in violence and arson are being identified.
Gurjar leader Vijay Singh Bainsla visited Chhabra
One of the most prominent Gurjar leaders, BJP’s Vijay Singh Bainsla, visited Chhabra on April 12 to take stock of the situation. As per reports, initially, he was stopped from entering Chhabra by the local administration. However, he was later allowed to enter and meet the Gurjar community members at around 10:30 PM. In his statement yesterday, Bainsla said that there is peace in the region because of the curfew. “It is the responsibility of the local leaders to ensure there will be peace once curfew is lifted. I am here to take stock of the situation and talk to the members of the Gurjar community.”
कल देर रात को प्रोटोकॉल के हिसाब से पहले कवाई थाने रुक कर स्थानीय लोगों व विधायकजी श्री प्रताप सिंह सिंघवी जी से स्थिति का जायज़ा लिया तत्पश्चात करीब रात 10.30 बजे #छबड़ा में प्रवेश किया व देर रात तक कलेक्टर महोदय , SP साहब , एडिशनल साहब व अन्य अधिकारियों से विस्तृत बात हुई। pic.twitter.com/4Qk641NtIv— Vijay Bainsla | विजय बैंसला (@VijaySBainsla) April 13, 2021
He further added that everyone wants to live in peace and harmony in the region. “We live like a family, and incidents happen among the family members. What we need to do is to ensure there are peace and harmony among all communities.”
OpIndia’s conversation with Bainsla
OpIndia reached out to Bainsla and discussed in detail to understand what exactly happened in Chhabra. Bainsla said that on April 10, Kamal Gurjar was buying fruit at an intersection when Fareed, Aabid and Sameer came on a bike and asked him to move his vehicle. When Kamal requested him to park somewhere else, the trio started arguing with him.
During the argument, one of them pulled out a knife and started attacking Kamal. Rakesh Nagar, one of the shopkeepers, ran to Kamal’s rescue with a baton. Two more men from the other community joined the trio and injured Kamal and Rakesh. As it was five against two, Kamal and Rakesh could not save themselves from the attack. More shopkeepers ran to their rescue, after which the men from a particular community ran away. Both Rakesh and Kamal were rushed to the hospital.
Bainsla further said that the next day, prominent members from both Gurjar and Muslim communities sat to discuss the situation. While they talked about peace, a Gurjar man who went to the Muslim area for some personal work was attacked with sharp weapons. He somehow managed to escape and reached the spot where the community leaders were trying to pacify the situation. On learning about the attack, the situation got heated up.
Girraj Gurjar, one of the prominent local Gurjar leader, immediately called Bainsla and informed him about the situation. “I called the collector on the conference call and updated him about the situation. It was decided to disperse the meeting between the two communities immediately.” However, before they could disperse the people gathered there, stone pelting started from both sides leading to the stampede.
While Bainsla was travelling to Chhabra, he released a video requesting everyone to maintain peace.
#छबड़ा के लिए अभी सवाई माधोपुर पार किया है, देर शाम तक छबड़ा पहुंच रहा हूँ।— Vijay Bainsla | विजय बैंसला (@VijaySBainsla) April 12, 2021
आप सब से आपील है के शांति बनाये रखें, कर्फ्यू का 100℅ पालन करें। जो आरोपी हैं उन्हें @PoliceRajasthan जल्द गिरफ़्तार करेगी ,इसका मुझे विश्वास है।
आपसे आपील है सौहार्द बनाये रखें। @RajCMO
– विजय बैंसला- pic.twitter.com/0KCNLwcgUK
Over 79 shops burnt down
Bainsla said that over 79 shops and showrooms belonging to the Hindu community were burnt down during the riots. “Some of the shops had products worth 2-3 crores were burnt to ashes. The rioters from the Muslim community were roaming around with naked swords, and the Police were unable to stop them,” he added. We had also reported yesterday that there were several incidents of stone pelting on the police force as by the Muslim mob as well.
Bainsla alleged that Police used maximum tear gas on the Hindus while only one tear gas shell was fired on the minority rioters. “They also attacked police officers,” he added.
The case against Girraj Gurjar is unsubstantial
Girraj Gurjar, who runs a coaching centre at Chhabra, has been named by the Police as one of the main accused. Bainsla said that Girraj was one of the frontrunners in maintaining peace after the riots. He led the delegation that submitted a memorandum at the Police station over the stabbing incident and requested Police to arrest the accused.
Police picked his father and brother for interrogation on Sunday evening. When Bainsla called the Police station and questioned their action, the Police officers allegedly asked him to send Girraj for paperwork so that his father, who was recovering from a brain haemorrhage, and brother could be released. Later, due to his intervention, Girraj’s father and brother were released by the Police.
‘I was stopped from entering Chhabra after the Chhabra, Rajasthan riot’
Bainsla said that he was stopped from entering Chhabra on the pretext that his presence could re-instigate the riots. “I called up the senior administration at Jaipur, after which I was permitted to meet the community at Chhabra.” He added that BJP MP Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria was also stopped from entering Chhabra. He was held at Kota itself and could not travel ahead.
प्रशाशन संग जिन बिंदुओ पर सहमति बनी :-— Vijay Bainsla | विजय बैंसला (@VijaySBainsla) April 13, 2021
1.प्रशासन को 2 दिन का समय दिया है चाकू मारने वाले अपराधियों को गिरफ्तार करने के लिए
2.जो लोग छबड़ा में हिंसा में लिप्त हैं उनपर कार्यवाही हो
3.जो निर्दोष हैं उनपर कोई कार्यवाही न हो, शांतिपूर्वक ज्ञापन देने वालो पर कोई अप्रिय कार्यवाही न हो।
He added, “At around 10:30 PM, I entered the area where curfew was imposed. I met the collector and senior police officers. During the meeting, I urged them to arrest the two absconding youth, who were involved in the stabbing incident, at the earliest. I also urged them to take strict action against those who were involved in the riots while making sure that no innocent is named in the FIRs.” Bainsla said that the main aim of his visit was to ensure peace and tranquillity in the region.