A mahapanchayat of the Gurjar community in politically sensitive Gwalior turned nasty after participating members went on a rampage at the district collectorate, pelting stones, and damaging vehicles, including those of the collector and superintendent of police. The rioters also blocked the Gwalior-Jhansi highway later in the night and damaged the vehicles there.
Police had to cane charge and use tear gas shells to control the crowd at the collectorate. Some police personnel as well as at least a dozen protestors reportedly sustained injuries. Later, about two dozen of the demonstrators were detained by the police.
The rampage at the collectorate took place in the presence of district collector Akshay Kumar Singh and SP Rajesh Chandel. The police were initially outnumbered, allowing the crowd to storm the collectorate. Later, more force was called in and police resorted to cane charging and tear-gas shelling to disperse the mob, but it proceeded towards the highway and continued the rampage there.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Hina Khan told the media in the night that the situation was under control now. She said the police had to resort to lathi-charge as the mob was creating a lot of ruckus. She confirmed that a policeman was injured in the melee.
The incident occurred after the mahapanchayat, called under the banner of Gurjar Panchayat at Phoolbagh in Gwalior city, ended and the participants reached the district collectorate to submit a memorandum. They were stopped at a barricade by the police, which led to arguments. As the mob outnumbered the police, they broke through the barricades and went on a rampage at the collectorate.
The mahapanchayat was called to discuss the demands of the Gurjar community, the chief among them being the removal of tin covers from the statue of Raja Mihir Bhoj and the demand for poll tickets for the community according to their population. Raja Mihir Bhoj’s ancestry is a point of dispute between the Rajput and the Gurjar communities and the mention of word ‘Gurjar’ on the statue of Raja Mihir Bhoj installed at Chirwai Naka has become a matter of legal dispute. The statue was covered on order of the court, but the Gurjar community is demanding that it should be opened up and the honour of the Gurjar king restored. The community is also demanding the stopping of the distortion of history of the Gurjar Pratihar dynasty to which Mihir Bhoj belonged according to them.