Hundreds of Gujjars have started a march from Gudla in Karauli district towards this capital city of Rajasthan to press their demand for 5 per cent reservation in government jobs for the community.
“Hundreds of Gujjars have joined our march that was launched today. We will decide on the route on a day-to-day basis, and are expecting thousands more to join us. The date on which the march will enter Jaipur has not been decided as yet,” Roop Singh, spokesperson of Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti, told IANS.
Gudla is nearly 200 km from Jaipur.
The march, led by convener of Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti Col. (retd) Kirori Singh Bainsla, is expected reach Hindon town, over 30 km from Gudla, later Sunday.
Gujjars, at present classified as an Other Backward Caste (OBC), want 5 per cent exclusive reservation for themselves in government jobs and state-run educational institutions.
"If the state government does not want to exceed the reservation limit of 50 per cent, it can provide us with reservation through a sub-category within the existing quota for the OBCs or the Scheduled Tribes (ST)," Singh said.
In July 2009, the Rajasthan government announced 5 per cent reservation to the Gujjars and 14 per cent to economically backward classes taking total reservation in the state to 68 per cent.
The Rajasthan High Court, in October last year, stayed the order as the reservations had exceeded the cap of 50 per cent, put by the Supreme Court.
Gujjars had March 23 announced their Jaipur march for freezing the announcement of 80,000 jobs cleared by the government till their reservation issue is sorted out.
The agitation was postponed after talks with the government which promised the leaders of a temporary freeze in vacancies and assured speedy resolution of the matter pending in the court.
The Gujjar leaders, however, demanded the government should come out with a solution by April 10 or they would re-launch the agitation.
Meanwhile, the administration has made elaborate security arrangements.
“We will not allow anyone to disturb the law and order situation in the district,” Neeraj K. Pawan, Karauli district collector, said.
In 2006-2008, Gujjars had staged a series of violent protests demanding their categorization as a Scheduled Tribe, to avail of reservation of seats in jobs and education.