Supreme Court’s ‘no’ to Gujjar plea against Rajasthan Police


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday declined to pass any order on a petition seeking to end alleged harassment of the Gujjar community by the Rajasthan Police following week-long violence in the state that left 25 dead and caused widespread destruction.

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The petition, filed by Akhil Bharatiya Gujjar Vikas Sangathan, admitted that some Gujjars might have gone overboard while demanding tribal status for the community. It also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the turmoil.

Some misguided elements might have gone beyond the limit of "reasonable expression of their fundamental rights" during the protests in May-June but the entire Gujjar community should not be punished for this, the group argued.

It said the CBI should be asked to ascertain the "true facts" of what happened. Till that was done, the police should be told to stop harassing innocent Gujjars in Rajasthan and elsewhere.

A vacation bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P.P. Naolekar refused to pass any order but asked counsel Surat Singh to approach amicus curiae Rajeev Dhavan and present the matter before him. The case was listed for hearing June 18.

Counsel alleged that the police were entering the houses of Gujjars and harassing them. The petition said the Gujjars' fundamental rights needed to be respected.

While taking suo motu cognisance of the large-scale violence that swept Rajasthan from May 29, the apex court had June 5 asked the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to file affidavits on the action taken against those who indulged in violence.

The Supreme Court had termed the violence in Rajasthan and parts of some neighbouring states including Delhi as a "national shame".

The Gujjars were demanding Scheduled Tribe status to improve the community's socio-economic condition.

During the protests, thousands of Gujjars took to the streets in many parts of Rajasthan burning private and public vehicles, damaging railway tracks and blockading Jaipur's highways linking the city to Agra and New Delhi. They also attacked and set fire to government offices.

The police had earlier shot dead nearly 20 Gujjars. The mobs murdered at least one policeman while clashes between the Gujjars and Meena community members, who were opposed to Gujjars getting the tribal status, claimed another five lives.

Violence also erupted on the outskirts of Gujjar populated areas of the Indian capital and in Faridabad in Haryana as well as Ghaizabad and Kanpur districts in Uttar Pradesh.

The Gujjar protests ended June 4 after the Rajasthan government held talks with their leaders and set up a committee to examine their demand.