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Talks between Gujjars, govt to continue

Talks are set to continue between the agitating Gujjar community and the Rajasthan government on Monday after they remained inconclusive on Sunday night.

jaipur Updated: Jan 03, 2011 10:39 IST

Talks are set to continue between the agitating Gujjar community and the Rajasthan government on Monday after they remained inconclusive on Sunday night even as the community's protests for five percent reservation in government jobs entered the 15th day, disrupting some train services.

The 51-member Gujjar delegation sent by the community Sunday will hold further talks with the state government's three-member ministerial committee by Monday afternoon, officials said.

The committee comprises state Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and Transport Minister BK Sharma.

On Sunday, talks between the Gujjar delegation and the panel, which started at around 7pm and went on late into the night, remained inconclusive.

“We have accepted some of their demands and are optimistic of an amicable solution to the agitation,” said an official of the state home department.

The Gujjars, however, remained firm on their demand for five per cent reservation. “We do not want anything less then five per cent reservation and will only call off our agitation after a solution is reached,” said Srikrishna Bainsla, a member of the Gujjar delegation.

As efforts to break the impasse continued, the Gujjars sustained their protests on Monday morning by squatting on rail tracks near Bayana in Bharatpur district and blocking train services. There were long delays in services between Delhi and Mumbai.

The rail blockade began Dec 20 after a 'mahapanchayat' (community conclave) in Bayana.

Colonel (retired) KS Bainsla, convener of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti, is not part of the delegation holding talks with the government. It is instead being led by Basanta Sarpanch, Roop Singh, spokesperson of the Samiti that is spearheading the agitation, had said.

Official sources said that after the meeting, chances are high that Bainsla will come here for a meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday or Tuesday to formalise some sort of an agreement.

Roop Singh said the community's future course of action would depend much on the outcome of this meeting.

On Saturday, after a meeting attended by Minister of State of Communications Sachin Pilot, Jitendra Singh, and other leaders, the government had requested Bainsla to send a delegation for talks.

Pilot said that the Gehlot government was committed to provide reservation to Gujjars, but the high court ruling on the issue also needed to be considered.

Gehlot had met a delegation of Gujjar leaders on Friday in a bid to break the deadlock. The delegation was led by former Congress legislator Harisingh Mahua.

The Rajasthan government had in 2009 announced five percent reservation for Gujjars and 14 percent for the economically backward classes, taking the total reservation in the state for various sections of society to 68 per cent, more than the 50 percent cap set by Supreme Court.

In a ruling Dec 22, 2010, the high court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.

The Gujjars had staged violent protests between 2006 and 2008 as well in which many lives were lost.