Bharatpur on high alert as Gujjars threaten fresh stir over quota issue

  • Pradeep Sharma, None, Bharatpur
  • Updated: May 20, 2015 17:31 IST

The Gujjars will not hesitate from resorting to another round of agitation in Rajasthan if their demand for reservation in jobs was not met soon, chairman of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti Kirori Singh Bainsla said on Tuesday.

Bainsla has called for a Mahapanchayat at Samogar village in Bharatpur on May 21 to decide the future course of action on the issue. The Gujjars had launched a Nyay Yatra on the issue on May 11 which would culminate at Samogar. He said the government would be responsible if anything untoward happened, as such “hum takrav nahin chahte (we don’t want a confrontation with the government on the issue).

District magistrate Ravi Jain said eight duty magistrates had been asked to keep a coordinated vigil along the course of the yatra and the superintendent of police to keep adequate forces ready to meet any eventuality. Jain has also written to the divisional railway managers of western and north-central railways to remain alert in view of Bainsla’s call.

The cause of preparedness is that the Gujjars had staged a 17-day agitation across the state in 2010 which was accompanied by angry rail and road jams which left many trains cancelled and disrupted the inter-city transport.

Bhainsla said the yatra would also route through Pilupura where about 16 people of the community had lost life in police firing during the agitation in 2008.

During the yatra, prominent leaders, Kirori Bainsla, Shri Ram Bainsla, Harprasad and Roop Singh are visiting the villages and inviting the people to the mahapanchayat with yellow rice, requesting them to turn up in large numbers to build pressure on the government.

The demand for quota in job was first raised in 2006. Several commissions had been set up between 2006 and 2013 to find out a solution, but nothing concrete has been done in this regard, said another prominent leader Bhoora Bhagat.

About 72 Gujjars have lost their life during various agitations since 2007 in this connection. Five BJP MLAs also quit to show their solidarity with the Gujjars in 2007 but the demand was still pending.

In May 2010, Bainsla had reached an accord with the Congress government with the later agreeing to 1% reservation to Gujjars in the special backward class category within the 50% quota. The remaining 4% was put on hold as the issue was pending in a court.

Bainsla renewed the quota stir in December 2010 and sat on the Delhi-Mumbai rail track. He had even claimed then that a kind of naxalism was taking root among the Gujjar youth as the quota issue was still to be decided.

Later, he ended the agitation after former chief minister Ashok Gehlot assured the Gujjars that the government was serious about resolving the matter.

Additional advocate general of the state GS Gill on Tuesday filed an early hearing application in the matter. Government wanted to pre-pone the hearing which is scheduled for July 16.

Sources said state government has filed this application because Gujjars have threatened to intensify the agitation. In 2012, the government had given 5% reservation in jobs to special backward classes comprising Gujjars, Rebaris, Gadia Luhars, and Banjaras and 14% to economically backward classes, taking the reservation from 49 % to 68%.

But this was stayed by the division bench of Rajasthan High Court on the ground that more than 50% reservation without any valid justification is unconstitutional.

This was a big setback to the Gujjars and the state government had challenged this order.

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