In a significant development, Gujjars leader Col Kirori Singh Bainsala on Friday decided to postpone the proposed March to Jaipur to press for five per cent quota in government jobs and sent an eleven member delegation to hold talks with Rajasthan government to resolve the issue. Bainsala has sent second rung leaders to hold a dialogue with the senior officials of the state government.
Bainsala told HT from the site of Mahapadav in district Kauroli that the decision about the postponement of the march was taken by the Gujjars mahapanchyat.
"If there is chance of any viable solution after the meeting, I will go to Jaipur to clinch the issue with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot," Col Bainsala said .
"Our sit-in is continuing at Gazipur and we at the moment have postponed plan to march to Jaipur and will take decision later accordingly," he added.
The mahapadavs would continue in case the crisis were not resolved and the proposed march to Jaipur would now be held as per schedule, Bainsala said.
While the BJP remained non-committal on support to Bainsala, saying they were against any violent movement, the Congress said Bainsala was playing into the hands of the BJP.
State Congress spokesman Satyendra Raghav said that the BJP was behind the current agitation as Col Bainsala belongs to the party and was nominated to the national executive.”
In a bid to prevent a violent agitation, the state government has designated several officials to talk to Col Bainsala and his associates. Just a few hours prior to the end of his deadline for the proposed march to Jaipur, the two sides agreed to talk.
Through the day, Bainsala, convenor of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti, was closeted with his close aides in the Dev Narayan temple to decide on his strategy. In Gazipur, few hundred Gujjar community people sat at the mahapadav, waiting for further instructions.
In a related development, the Rajasthan High Court has asked the state government what action it had taken for security ahead of the proposed agitation and march to Jaipur by the Gurjar community.
Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice MN Bhandari wanted to know what security arrangements had been made to protect public property from damage during the agitation.
Advocate General GS Bafna told the court that the administration and the chief minister were closely monitoring the situation and police force alerted.
In Jaipur district, Section 144 has been imposed. Collector Kuldeep Ranka said that field deployment of forces would be done on Friday but other preparations like fire brigades, ambulances were in place.
Several hundred youth from the Gurjar community took out a peace rally to drum up support against the agitation proposed by Bainsala. Kotputli MLA Ramswaroop Kasana who organised the rally said that his purpose was to tell the youth not to get misled by some Gurjar leaders who are using them for political gain.
A senior police official said that adequate police force was available and would be deployed if required especially along the crucial National Highway 8 that connects Delhi to Mumbai, and railway tracks. Public property like railway tracks and buses were damaged in the last agitation in 2008, in which 71 people had died.
Rajasthan government has made elaborate security arrangements and deployed forces around the city to restrict entry of Gujjars in case they march towards the state capital.
Gujjars led by Bainsala had on Tuesday held a sit-in in Gazipur. Bainsala had said that lakhs of people of his caste would march towards Jaipur if their demand of reservation was not fulfilled.