Ground zero: A village politicians are scared to visit

Ground zero: A village politicians are scared to visit

Villagers of Dangawas, who lost their family members in 2015 violence, feel left out in the present scenario.

Dangawas village, 250 km from Jaipur and part of Nagaur district of Rajasthan, the epicenter of Jat politics, is like an island cut off from the sea of political happenings. 

The village is infamous for the killing of five SC/ST men by forward caste villagers hailing from the Jat community, three years ago. With elections just two weeks away, none of the candidates from any party have visited the village nor mentioned it in their speeches for fear of being on the wrong side of the political discourse. 

For many in Dangawas, time froze on May 15, 2015 as most of them cannot forget that fateful morning when five men, three from one house and two distant relatives were killed in the nearby fields by their Jat neighbours. Narrating the ordeal, Govind Meghwal, a resident of Dangawas and also a social activist and relative of the victim, told DH, "We cannot forget that fateful day when the upper caste men mowed down five men from our community to settle a property dispute. To settle scores Jats blocked the roads, ran after us so that ambulances carrying the injured could not reach hospital in time". Fearing that the clashes may repeat, a make shift police post stands tall to guard the village. 

Villagers of Dangawas,
who lost their family members
in 2015 violence, feel left out
in the present scenario.

Out of 2,500 households in Dangawas, 250 to 350 belong to schedule caste, while the rest are Jats. In 2013, the village which comes under Merta assembly constituency, voted for BJP but this time they seek a change. "None of them have done anything for us. When it comes to decide, we will vote for independent candidate Lakshman Ram Kalu, who hails from Meghwal community (SC). From our 20 demands only one has been fulfilled so far," Khema Ram, who witnessed the assault and is brother of one of the deceased, told DH. Currently, 27 accused are facing trial and CBI is investigating the case

SC/STs feel left out

Not only in Dangawas, in all 34 reserved seats swept by BJP in 2013 polls, SC/STs feel left out. The community has a long list of grudges against the BJP government. Interestingly, the resentment is also against the Opposition Congress, which is also trying to woo the Dalit voters, who comprise about 18 % of the state’s population.

Speaking to DH,  Bhanwar Meghwanshi, a writer-activist, told DH, "As Rajasthan has a record of anti-incumbency for last two decades, Dalit community faces its fallout. Unless an incumbent government is allowed to work in a constituency for a long time, no one can assure Dalit upliftment. Both Congress and BJP have fooled the people. When it comes to standing up for us, they run away fearing that they will lose the support of other communities."

A make shift police post at the
Dangawas village after
the 2015 violence took place.

Some of the incidents that have made an impression on their minds is the Hindaun violence that took place on April 1 in response to a bandh and subsequent protest called by Dalits in April over a Supreme Court judgment barring the arrest of public servants under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. In Hindaun, upper castes retaliated by setting ablaze houses belonging to BJP MLA Rajkumari Jatav and former Congress MLA Bharosi Lal Jatav.

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