Two months after the Rajasthan high court struck down a quota for them, Gujjar leaders in the state have warned of re-launching their agitation for job reservation and have accused the BJP government in the state of “stabbing them in the back” and backtracking on the issue.
The BJP government’s decision to give five per cent reservation in government jobs to Gujjars and four other communities under Special Backward Classes (SBC) category was struck down by the Rajasthan high court in December 2016 because it exceeded the 50% reservation ceiling. The court noted that data had not been properly collected to establish the backwardness of the five communities.
The Gujjars and other communities were earlier covered under the Other Backward Classes category but in 2015 the government placed the five communities under the SBC category and granted them 5% separate quota. Following the high court order, the community will not get any benefit of either category.
On Wednesday, furious Gujjar leaders boycotted a meeting with the cabinet sub-committee handling the issue of reservation.
Gujjar leader Col Kirori Singh Bainsla warned that if the community was not given reservation under the SBC quota they would re-launch their agitation. The Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti has called for a mahapanchayat on February 25 in Karauli. In Sikandra in Dausa district, Bansur in Alwar district and Kusali village in Sawai Madhopur district, Gujjars have already launched dharnas.
In predominantly Gujjar inhabited villages in Ajmer district, the community is angry and blames the Vasundhara Raje government for failing to protect the community’s interest.
“The government has cheated us,” said Ramawtar Tanwar, a community elder in Pinglod village, 10km from Ajmer.
“Believing chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her party’s election manifesto promise that Gujjars would get 5% reservation, Gujjars voted en bloc for the BJP in the 2013 assembly and 2014 Lok Sabaha elections helping BJP win all the 8 the eight assembly seats in Ajmer region and the Lok Sabha seat of the district,” he said.
The community’s youth are angry with Vasundhara Raje for allegedly mishandling the reservation quota issue in the high court.
“The future of hundreds of community youth is at stake. Appointments in government jobs of those who cleared competitive exams under SBC category have been withheld and we are apprehensive if we will ever get a job if the present impasse continues in court,” said Mahendra Bhadana of Bidkichiyawas village who is preparing for competitive exams.
“A cousin who was selected as a government teacher in SBC category was denied appointment as a result of the court verdict,” he claimed.
Students preparing for the Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) mains examination are also despondent.
“We have been left hanging in mid-air. We don’t have our status now,” said Om Prakash Gurjar who cleared the preliminary RAS exam under the SBC category.