Hindu right-wing group Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena (SRRKS) chief Sukhdev Singh Gogamedi, 53, who was shot dead in Jaipur on Tuesday, came under the spotlight nationally six years earlier by slapping filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali during the shooting of Deepika Padukone’s film Padmavat.
Rajput groups claimed the film hurt their community’s sentiments by showing a romantic scene involving Queen Padmavati in a dream sequence even as historians are divided over the authenticity of the character. Gogamedi led protests against the film and forced the removal of the scene from the film before its release in 2018.
Born into a Rajput farmer family in Hanumangarh, Gogamedi announced a ₹20,00,000 bounty on a Muslim man’s head for marrying a Rajput woman in 2017. Two years later, he was booked when a video purportedly showing him threatening people visiting the 12th-century Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer.
Gogamedi organised a gathering in Jaipur in April 2023 demanding an increase in the reservation for the Economic Weaker Sections belonging to the upper castes from 10% to 14%. He unsuccessfully sought a ticket from the Congress to contest the assembly polls in Rajasthan in November. In his last post on X, he blamed wrong ticket distribution for the Congress’s loss in the elections on Sunday. “The shameful defeat of the Congress is the result of their wrong ticket distribution and ignoring the Karni Sena. The high command should think about it.”
Gogamedi earlier gained popularity locally by raising issues related to his caste group at the district level. In 2013, he contested his first election on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket but finished third.
Gogamedi was appointed as the state president the same year of one of the two groups formed when the Shri Rajput Karni Sena split in 2010 due to disagreements between Rajput leaders Ajit Mamdoli and Lokendra Kalvi. Kalvi expelled Gogamedi from his faction two years later.
Political analyst Narayan Bareth said Kalvi was a bigger Rajput leader known to be patient and disciplined. He added Gogamedi was more popular among the younger generation. “He had a more rowdy approach…”
Gogamedi set up SRRKS in 2015 and led a protest against the alleged extra-judicial killing of gangster Anandapal Singh in 2017.