Those who have been arrested have now been charged under sections like arson, loot and attempt to murder

Alwar:  Phool Singh died in an accident in 2007. In records of Rajasthan Police, he came back to life this month. He was named in a case registered by the police in Bharatpur's Rupabas, accusing him of violence during the Dalit agitation on 2 April, the Bharat Bandh. The dead man, Dalit rights activists say, has come to symbolise how the police have, in Rajasthan and many other parts of the country, gone on an overdrive to target members of the community after violence during the shutdown.

In all, the police arrested nearly 1,200 people in the 250-odd cases registered across Rajasthan for the violence that also had killed about 10 people in the country. Activists allege the police had randomly named accused in the police and arrested them without an investigation, even forcing their way into their houses and assaulting other family members. It did not seem to matter, they insist, if the young men were involved in the violence or not.

It is a point that was repeatedly made when TheIndianSubcontinent travelled to Alwar's Khairtal town. More than 22 police cases were registered and 69 people arrested.In the homes of the Jatav Dalits in Khairtal's Ambedkar Colony, TheIndianSubcontinent found doors smashed, women and old men who said they were beaten up by the police who had entered their homes in the aftermath of the agitation to make arrests. 

Khairtal residents said police forced their way into their homes

Kailashi Devi stands outside her one-room home, the door of which lies smashed on the ground after the Dalit rally. The police, she claims, broke into her home and dragged her two sons away. They are now in jail.

"Please bring my sons back," she says, crying. "I am a widow and have no one to support me."

In Jatav Colony in Khairtal's Ambedkar Nagar, women show the marks on their body, bruises still blue after the backlash that followed the violence during Bharat Bandh, held to protest the dilution of the SC/ST Act by a recent Supreme Court judgement.

50-year-old Dhano said "We were in our homes, our children were scared. The police entered my house they came in and beat me up. What wrong did we do by asking for our rights? We are poor people, we struggle to earn and survive, but the police came and hit us in our homes." 

Kailashi Devi claims the police broke into her home and dragged her two sons away

Suman shows us the broken door in her house, and Priya, her daughter, shows the bruise on her thigh. Suman was in her house when the police, she alleges, came and broke the door. They also beat her young 17-year-old daughter with a stick.

Even the old were not spared. At some distance, 62-year-old Kishan Lal Jatav shows us the bruises on his back. He said he had come home after the rally, when the police followed, randomly hitting women and old men, and arresting young men on mere suspicion.

"They have taken my husband away and my brother-in-law, I have an old disabled father-in-law, how will we survive now? Please release my husband," pleads 25-year-old Dhanwanti, hoping her plight will be highlighted.

Police says the mob which was holding a rally on 2 April through Khairtal town tried to attack the police station. They say a police vehicle was set on fire and two trains, including a Shatabdi, were stopped.

Those who have been arrested have now been charged under sections like arson, loot, dacoity and attempt to murder - which are non-bailable offences.

Defending the police action, the state government said the police have diligently investigated every case. 

Kishan Lal Jatav shows the bruises on his back

"No, we are only arresting people after proper evidence and we are 100 per cent convinced," Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Katariya said. If there was any information that "any innocent person has been wrongly named, we will investigate the matter," he added.

Rajasthan records the highest number of atrocities against Dalits in the country along with UP and Bihar, and in the past three months alone there has been a 27 per cent percent increase in crimes against Dalits and scheduled castes as per the home departments' latest review of crimes in Rajasthan.