With both Gurjar and Rajput communities in Haryana claiming that ninth-century ruler Mihir Bhoj belonged to their castes, the Haryana Government on Friday set up a seven-member committee to examine the historical facts about Samrat Mihir Bhoj “with the aim of averting the proliferation of disinformation.”
An order issued by Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal today said that the Divisional Commissioner, Karnal, will be chairman of the committee while Inspector General of Police, Karnal Range, Karnal will be its vice chairman and the Deputy Commissioner, Kaithal will be its Member Secretary.
Superintendent of Police, Kaithal, two professors of History from Panjab University, Chandigarh, namely, Rajeev Lochan and Priyatosh Sharma and two advocates of both parties ‘Gurjar’ and ‘Kshatriya’ as representatives of both the communities will be its members. The committee will submit its report within a period of four weeks from the date of issue of this order.
This controversy has put the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in a tight spot, which has divided the two communities ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due next year.
While Gujjars maintain that Mihir Bhoj belonged to their caste, Rajputs say that he was a Rajput king and should not be described as Gurjar king. To settle the issue, Rajputs were demanding the formation of an expert committee of historians to determine whether Raja Mihir Bhoj belonged to Rajput or Gurjar community.
Unhappy with the BJP which heavily relies on non-Jat voters in Haryana for its electoral success in the state, Rajput community had on Wednesday announced to boycott the saffron party in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls due next year if their demands, which includes formation of an expert committee on the issue, were not accepted within 15 days.
Their other demands include termination of service of cops responsible for lathicharge on Rajput community youths who were opposing the unveiling of the statue of Raja Mihir Bhoj in Kaithal as the plaque of the statue read ‘Gurjar Pratihar Samrat Mihir” or Gurjar king.
A Gurjar leader heads the Kaithal district BJP unit and the Kaithal constituency is represented in the Assembly by a member of the same community. Rajput community leaders allege the BJP is siding with the Gurjar community in the matter.
The Rajput community is also seeking the resignation of Kaithal district BJP president Ashok Gurjar and action against the BJP legislator from Kaithal Lila Ram Gujjar, who were part of the unveiling ceremony of the statue at the Dhand Chowk in the Kaithal town to mark the birth anniversary of the ruler in July this year.
A day before the statue was unveiled on 20 July, Rajput community members had staged a protest for the removal of Gurjar word from the plague and the police had to resort to lathicharge to prevent the Rajputs from reaching close to the statue installed on the demand of the Akhil Bhartiya Veer Gurjar Sabha.
On their part, various forums of the Gurjar community call for “no compromise with Gurjar name and Gurjar history”.
At the unveiling of the statue, BJP’s Kaithal MLA Lila Ram Gujjar was quoted saying “there is solid proof that Mihir Bhoj was a Gurjar Samrat, who had ruled India when Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Burma were also a part of the country.”
The Rajput community members can’t be tampering with history today. Rajputs are our brothers but they should also exercise restraint while making comments, he had said.