The Gujjar mahapanchayat held at Dholpur in Rajasthan on Thursday said a state-wide Jail Bharo movement will be launched from Gandhi Jayanti if the state government does not send a letter to the Centre, recommending that the community be given ST status.
Gujjar leaders also rejected the state government's decision to extend the Chopra commission's term up to December.
Thousands of the Gujjars, attired in their traditional dresses, came from different districts of Rajasthan and border villages of MP and Uttar Pradesh to attend the meeting.
Gujjar leader Col Kirori Singh Bainsala said: “We will start a peaceful agitation from Gandhi Jayanti if government fails to give us the letter of recommendation to provide ST status to our community. My people have started doubting my intentions and feel I have adopted a soft stance. The government should act before it is too late as the agitation could take a dangerous turn.”
Congress MP Sachin Pilot said: “Our struggle is not a political one but a social movement that will continue till our demand is met. The community has lost 26 lives during the agitation and everyone is determined to fight for justice.”
President of the Rashtriya Gujjar Chetna Manch Rajender Bidudi said: “The Gujjars have 3 MPs in parliament and 6 MLAs in the Assembly which makes it difficult to put pressure on the government."
Though Bainsala was in favour of giving a month's extension to the Chopra Commission, other leaders like Rama Pilot, Prahlad Gunjal, Karatar Singh Badhana opposed it. All the speakers vociferously demanded immediate submission of the report.
Dholpur SP Devender Singh said: “The crowd numbered between a lakh to 1.5 lakh. The meeting ended peacefully.” Top officials said instructions had been issued to district officials in Bhaartpur, Duasa, Karauli, Alwar, Jaipur etc to keep an eye on the meeting.
However, the organisers put the strength of crowd in the range of 5-6 lakh. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and senior government officials kept an eye on the outcome of the mahapanchahyat.