Gujjars continue stir despite government’s intervention

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

JAIPUR - The Gujjar community’s agitation for five percent reservation continued unabated Wednesday despite the Rajasthan government clarifying that it would hold back four percent of the jobs, in addition to the one percent already being given to them, till a final court decision.

In a bid to pacify the community, the government announced late Tuesday that the jobs would be set aside till the court clears the quotas.

“…Gujjars would be entitled to a one percent quota in the posts and another four percent would be held back till the high court clears the five percent reservation promised to special backward castes (SBCs), said state Home Minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal.

The minister pointed out that 4,000 posts against 100,000 vacancies would be reserved for the Gujjars and other communities clubbed in the SBCs.

This announcement was a major shift in government stand. The Ashok Gehlot government had till now proposed to set aside only “notional posts” for SBCs till the high court verdict.

The Gujjars have, however, refused to call off their agitation that started last week Monday.

We will not end the agitation till the government announces five percent reservation to us, K.S. Bainsla, convener of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, told IANS.

The Gujjars have called for Bharatpur shutdown Dec 30.

Train services between Delhi and Mumbai and a few other sectors continued to be affected Wednesday as Gujjars continued to squat on a railway track near Bayana in Bharatpur district, about 150 km from the state capital Jaipur.

Gujjars had decided on a rail blockade on Dec 20, after holding a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Bayana.

Following the decision, hundreds of protesters squatted on the rail tracks in Piloo Ka Pura, forcing the railways to divert or cancel a few 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 reservation in the state for various sections of society to 68 percent.

The 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 total reservation had exceeded the cap of 50 percent.

In a ruling Dec 22, 2010, the high court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.

Gujjars, demanding reservation for better educational and job prospects earlier between 2006 and 2008, had staged violent protests in which many lives were lost.

Filed under: Politics

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