Ground Report | New Delhi: Jaipur Amagarh Fort; A fort that has long been neglected by the central and state governments has emerged as a symbol of tribal identity in Rajasthan after members of the Meena community hoisted a saffron (saffron) flag by Hindutva organizations last week. The 18th-century Ambagarh Garrison Fort, Meena is at the center of a conflict between the Scheduled Tribes (ST) community and Hindutva organizations supported by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and vocal support of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Trouble began earlier this month when the Yuva Shakti Manch, a Hindutva organization affiliated with the VHP, hoisted a saffron flag bearing ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on an electric pole in the fort premises.
Who wants to eradicate tribal symbols?
Since then, there has been a hashtag war between Meena workers and Hindutva organizations on social media. While Meena says he is asserting his independent identity and opposing attempts to be appropriated under Hinduism, saffron activists are expressing outrage over the alleged desecration of the saffron flag.
“Amagarh Fort was built several hundred years ago by the Meena rulers. Inside the fort, several deities are worshiped by the Meena community such as Amba Devi, Bhairu Ji and the Shiva family. Recently, some of these idols were stolen and vandalized. Later, we came to know that some people have put up a tall saffron flag on top of the fort,” said Ramkesh Meena, an independent MLA from Gangapur city, who is also the state president of Rajasthan Adivasi Meena Seva Sangh.
Suresh Chavhanke, the chief editor of Sudarshan Samachar TV, has abused the Meenas while showing indecency during a show of the channel in the case of tampering with the historical site of Meenas in Ambagarh fort. Suresh Chavhanke is often seen making objectionable remarks against Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis in his show, due to which there is a ruckus on social media.
Tagging Delhi, UP and Rajasthan Police, Hansraj Meena writes, Sudarshan News editor Suresh Chavanke uses derogatory language about the Meena tribe of Rajasthan, “When I speak Meena, take it as a bastard”. Why is there no legal action against this person yet? He should be arrested by this evening.
Azad Samaj Party President Chandra Shekhar Azad tweeted, “It is a shameful conspiracy of the RSS to try to capture the Ambagarh Fort with the help of saffron flags. Even though the Ambagarh Fort will be just a ruin for others but for the tribals it is a sign of their sacrifice. The tribals will put up their flag. RSS should stop interfering.
What is the whole matter?
The whole controversy started when an organization named Yuva Shakti Manch, keeping the intention of occupying the Amagarh site, put a saffron flag on the useless electric pole marking the name of its organization. After this, the name of the Amba Mata temple was also changed, and the old idols of Shiva and Ganesh present there were dismantled and replaced with new ones, apart from this one room of the temple was also made the office of the organization.
This development came to light on 16 July 2021, after which the Rajasthan Adivasi Meena Seva Sangh proposed a dialogue with the trespassers on 17 July, canceling the proposal, the trespassers assured to remove the flag but even after that the flag was not removed. .
The workers of Meena Samaj organized a meeting on 21st July, in which some part of the flag got torn while taking down the flag. After this, the BJP, and many Hindutva organizations on social media, started weighing the matter, calling it an insult to the saffron flag. Now RSS has also entered in this matter.
The leaders of the Meena community have accused local Hindu organizations of trying to tamper with the tribal culture and appropriate tribal symbols in the Amagarh Fort. Meanwhile, Hindu organizations last week targeted the Meenas for allegedly lowering the saffron flag from the fort and called on followers on social media to reach the fort on August 1 to hoist another flag.
Jaipur Amagarh Fort
The Ambagarh Fort was once the rule of Raja Raghuji Bhonsle (1788–1816), the then ruler of Nagpur. It served as a prison for slaves. According to legend, the prisoners sent to the fort were forced to drink poisoned water from an internal well. After this, the British captured the fort. Who had vacated it only after India got independence. Tourists can also visit the nearby Gaymukh, which houses the 9th century Shiva temple. (Jaipur Amagarh Fort)
Surrounded by lush green forests, the historic Ambagarh Fort is a major tourist destination situated at an altitude of 300 feet above sea level. The fort has an attraction for climbers, who can explore the area around the fort. Although the structure is in ruins, its major passageways are well preserved and visitors can witness the former grandeur of the 12th-century fort. A large pond is situated just outside the fort complex, which is still used to supply water to the surrounding villages.