Gujjars-Raje talks end on positive note | india | Hindustan Times
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Gujjars-Raje talks end on positive note

india Updated: Jun 10, 2008 12:28 IST
KS Tomar
KS Tomar
Hindustan Times
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A much awaited dialogue between the 37-member delegation of Gujjar leaders and ministerial delegation started in the afternoon at the premises of a college at Bayana in Bharatpur on Monday and ended on a positive as well as conciliatory note.

Both sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in Jaipur, which might be held either Tuesday or Wednesday to resolve the ongoing crisis of the community demanding ST status.

Gujjar leaders said that the dialogue was held in a congenial atmosphere hence “we will not organise Bharat bandh on Tuesday”. They said “we demanded compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of those killed during May, 2007 and the current movement. The kith of the deceased should also get employment. Rs 3-5 lakh should also be paid to the injured.”

Regarding their main demand to get letter of recommendation to the Centre “they reminded the ministers to accept the plea which will help us to get ST status.” “The agitators arrested by the police should be released and supply of electricity and water should be restored with immediate effect. The government is keeping the villagers without water and power since the past 16 days,” they said.

Public Health and Engineering Minister Sanwar Lal Jat and Mines Minister Laxmi Narayan Dave said “we expect that next round of dialogue will begin soon as preliminary talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. The next date of main talks will be decided by the government, which is acceptable to the Gujjars leaders also.”

The ministers were assisted by Principal Secretary S.N.Thanvi and Divisional Commissioner, Bharatpur, Niranjan Arya.

Two ministers flew in by helicopter to Bayana in the morning and negotiations started at about 4.15 pm after the verification of the identity of all the members of Gujjars delegation.

Senior government officials said that the college building was cordoned off by the army and police to maintain the law and order.

The state government accepted a last minute demand put forth by Gujjars leader Col Kirori Singh Bainsala to release the 15 agitators who were arrested by the police from SMS hospital.

Due to police firing at Sikandra on May 24, several Gujjars were injured and some of them were admitted to SMS hospital at Jaipur. They were discharged on Sunday but police arrested them as criminal cases had been registered against them.

Col Bainsala had made it clear prior to accepting the invitation for preliminary talks that if outcome of the dialogue yielded desirable results then he would go to Jaipur to hold main dialogue with the government.

Gujjars had revived agitation from May 23 and lost 38 members of their community in police firing at Bayana, Sikandra and Swaimadhopur.