Gujjars continue stir as talks fail

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BAYANA - Talks between the Rajasthan government and the Gujjars ended inconclusively Sunday, the seventh day of the community’s agitation for reservation in jobs.

Colonel (retd) K.S. Bainsla, convener of Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti which is spearheading the agitation, said that he was not satisfied with the government’s reply.

We have given 7 days to the government to give us a satisfactory reply, only then we will consider ending our agitation, Bainsla said.

Earlier Sunday, Rajasthan Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, himself a Gujjar, went to Piloo Ka Pura to meet Bainsla. Singh said that the state government was committed to providing reservations to Gujjars but it may take some time.

He also said he would resign if the government fails to provide reservation to the community. However, he failed to convince Gujjars and talks ended inconclusively.

Before meeting Bainsla, Singh also met a seven-member Gujjar delegation in Bayana.

Meanwhile, train services between Delhi and Mumbai and a few other sectors including Sawai Madhopur-Bharatpur, Jaipur-Bandikui, Ajmer-Bhilwara and Sawai Madhopur-Jaipur continued to be affected Sunday as Gujjars laid siege to a railway track near Bayana in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

“We have stopped train movement in the area due to security reasons,” a senior railway official told IANS.

The agitators have also blocked the roads between Bayana-Hindon and Hindon-Bharatpur, forcing the government to cancel some of its buses plying on these routes.

Over 15,000 Gujjars began their agitation Monday, demanding five percent reservation in state government jobs in Rajasthan.

Under Bainsla’s leadership, Gujjars held a Mahapanchayat in Bayana Monday, about 150 km from the state capital Jaipur, before deciding on the rail blockade.

Protesters squatted on the rail tracks in Piloo Ka Pura forcing the railway to divert or cancel a few of its trains.

In July 2009, the Rajasthan government had announced five percent reservation for Gujjars and 14 percent for the economically backward classes taking the total reservations for various sections of society to 68 percent in the state.

The Rajasthan High Court in October 2009 stayed the quota in jobs and educational institutions in the state for Gujjars and the economically backward classes as the reservations had exceeded the cap of 50 percent laid down by the Supreme Court.

Gujjars of Rajasthan had earlier staged violent protests between 2006 and 2008 in which many lives were lost.

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