Agitating Gujjar community members dug in their heels on the second day of their protest on Friday, vowing not to give up until the state came out with a decision over their demand for 5% reservation in government jobs.
The state government, on its part, reiterated an appeal to hold talks over their demand.
Gujjar leaders said they were ready for parleys if the state government was willing to offer a permanent solution to the reservation problem.
“We stick to our demand of 5% reservation within the provision of 50% reservation and not beyond that. Let the government come talk to us. We are ready for discussion,” said Gujjar Aarkashan Sangharsh Samiti chief Kirori Singh Bainsla.
Speaking to media sitting under a temporary shed erected on the railway tracks, Bainsla said the government’s offer was discussed with the community members.
A five-member delegation is meeting with a cabinet subcommittee at Bayana, he added.
Till the filing of this report, there was no headway in the talks.
The agitators said they would not leave the tracks if the government failed this time too to meet their demands.
The demands are for job quotas to be set aside for Gujjars and four other communities – Raika- Rebari, Gadia- Lohar, Banjara and Gadariya.
The protestors are even not ready to buy the theory that the issue is in the Rajasthan high court and the government could do nothing.
“The government is empowered to take any decision…” said 65-year-old Sohan Lal, a Gujjar who came all the way from Gangapur in Sawai Madhopur district.
Gujjars are also disappointed with public representatives from the community.
“Our own brethren come seeking votes during elections and promise all help in reservation issue. But after winning they hide behind walls of their official residences and take side with the government,” said Jagram Singh, a former soldier from Mundia village in Karauli district.
“When the BJP was in power in the state earlier, the party said the issue could not be resolved as the Congress-led NDA was in power at the Centre,” he said.
“Now, when the BJP is ruling both at the Centre and in the state, what is holding back the state government from fulfilling its promise?” asked Singh.
The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 in and around Bayana town as hundreds of Gujjars braved scorching heat with the mercury rising above 45 plus degree Celsius.
Additional police force have been deployed around Bayana town to maintain law and order, said Bharatpur inspector general of police Biju George Joseph who along district superintendent of police Rahul Prakash and collector Ravi Jain and other senior officers are camping in the town.
Bus, train traffic affected
The sit-in at Pilu Ka Pura area in Bharatpur district affected the movement of at least 50 trains, including those on the Delhi-Mumbai section.
The state roadways also cancelled some buses on the route where the Gujjars were holding their protest.
“The state government has sent us a letter for holding talks with a cabinet committee. Our leaders will decide on the future course of action after talking to the protesters,” Himmat Singh, spokesperson of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, told IANS on the phone.
Among the key trains that were hit those going from Kota to Nizamuddin, Mandasor, Patna, Agra and several trains on the important New Delhi-Mumbai route.