Tension between Rajputs and Gurjars simmers in UP’s Saharanpur over 'Gaurav Yatra'text_fields
Saharanpur: The prevailing heavy tension in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur between the upper caste Rajputs and the OBC Gurjar community over a dispute surrounding a 'Gaurav Yatra' organized by the Gurjar community to honour the ninth-century ruler, Mihir Bhoj, has prompted the authorities to suspend internet services and deploy heavy police presence to prevent any untoward incidents."
Both communities claim the right to hold a yatra, invoking the king's alleged allegiance to their respective castes, while the Rajput community openly dared any other community to organize a procession in his honour.
To maintain law and order, Rajiv Sabharwal, the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP-Meerut), stated that additional companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) have been dispatched from Meerut, and a significant police presence has been established in Saharanpur. The police have also apprehended 40 individuals who participated in the yatra despite prohibitory orders from the local administration.
Prior to the scheduled procession, leaders from both communities held meetings with higher officials on Sunday. However, due to the apprehension of a clash, District Magistrate Dinesh Chand imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and the police denied permission for the yatra.
Nevertheless, on Monday afternoon, a few hundred Gurjar community members assembled in Saharanpur's Phandpuri village. Although the police were present to prevent their progress, the participants assured officers that they would only walk a short distance.
As the yatra progressed, the crowd swelled into thousands, removed barricades, and continued their march, overwhelming the police's efforts to control them. Ignoring repeated warnings, the procession concluded the full yatra and returned to Phandipur village.
In a show of solidarity, Samajwadi Party MLA Atul Pradhan and several others from neighbouring districts and Haryana attempted to join the yatra but were detained by the police at the Saharanpur border. Pradhan criticized the police, alleging favouritism towards the Rajput community due to the Chief Minister's affiliation while affirming their intent to continue their agitation.
In response to the yatra and anticipating further tensions, hundreds of Rajput community members gathered at Rajput Bhavan and took to the streets in Saharanpur, staging blockades that brought traffic to a halt. Fearing an escalation, the district magistrate suspended internet services until further notice on Monday evening.
Virendra Vikram, president of the All India Veer Gurjar Mahasabha, defended the yatra, stating that King Mihir Bhoj is revered by their community, and their intent was to pay homage to the revered king. Khushpal Singh, the Saharanpur unit chief of the All India Kshatriya Mahasabha, countered the Gurjar community's claim, asserting that they have challenged it in various courts, with no decision reached yet. Singh emphasized that Mihir Bhoj symbolizes Rajput honour, and they would not permit anyone to misuse his name.