In Rajasthan’s battle against illegal sand mining, violence wins

A four-year ban on riverbed sand mining in the state spurred musclemen using coercive tactics to continue excavating. The restrictions have been lifted, but they carry on brazenly.

On a December evening in 2011, Kailash Meena was walking down a deserted street to attend a meeting in a village in Rajasthan’s Sikar district. As he looked at his phone to decline a call from an unknown number, one of the many he had received in the hour prior, he was waylaid by a group of men armed with iron rods. For the next few minutes, Meena was assaulted and verbally abused until the locals intervened. 

“It felt like an earthquake and shook me to my core, but the locals knew me and helped,” he recalls. “I went to …


Devendra Pratap Singh Shekhawat

Devendra is an independent journalist based in Rajasthan covering issues related to caste, politics, governance, hate crime, religion, minorities and environmental crime. His bylines have appeared in The Caravan, Al Jazeera, Article 14 and Fifty Two, among others.