Gehlot slams BJP for fuelling unrest over Gujjar reservation row

Sunday, December 26, 2010

JAIPUR - Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for fuelling the simmering unrest in the region over providing reservation to Gujjars in the state.

Firing a salvo at key BJP leaders on Saturday, including party President Nitin Gadkari, Gehlot condemned the political tactics adopted by the BJP, accusing them of instigating members of the ethnic Gujjar community to violence over the ongoing reservation row.

“The chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nitin Gadkari, and Vasundhara Raje Scindia (former Chief Minister of Rajasthan) want the state to burn in the fire of protests. They want roads jammed and people protesting and going astray, and I condemn them for doing this,” Gehlot accused.

Hundreds of members of the Gujjar community have blocked railway routes in Dausa district of Rajasthan, demanding quotas in government jobs and educational institutions.

The Gujjars have been demanding a separate five percent quota in government jobs and educational institutions. Many people were killed in 2007 when they first launched the agitation in favour of reservations.

On Wednesday (December 22), the High Court of Rajasthan turned down the longstanding plea of the community on reservation filed by Gujjar leaders, and directed the government to collect data on the status of education and economic welfare of the Gujjar community within a year.

Meanwhile, Gehlot asserted that despite the BJP’s obstructive political maneuvers, his government had initiated dialogue with the protestors to reinstall peace and harmony in the region.

“I am pleased to say that after two years of being in power, we have succeeded in promoting peace and harmony in the state. We have had constructive and meaningful dialogue with members of the Gujjar community as well as other communities. Even when there were protests, we tried to convince them and talk with them, thereby curtailing agitations,” Gehlot added.

India’s government reserves about half of all seats in state colleges and universities for lower caste people and tribal groups to flatten centuries-old social hierarchies, in what has been called the world’s biggest affirmative action scheme.

Presently, the Gujjar community comes under the other backward classes (OBC) category and it is demanding to be bracketed with the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes (SC/ST). (ANI)

Filed under: Politics

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