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Gujjar-Raje Govt agreement hits roadblock

Sharp differences cropped up between Gujjar leaders and the Raje Govt over the draft of the agreement to be signed between the two sides today.
By KS Tomar | Hindustan Times, Jaipur
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2008 04:18 PM IST

Sharp differences have cropped up between Gujjar leaders led by Col Kirori Singh Bainsla and the Rajasthan government over the draft of the agreement which was to be signed between two sides on Wednesday.

Due to the last minute hitch, an announcement of the agreement by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Col Bainsla has been stalled.

Col Bainsla and leader of government delegation, Ram Das Agarwal had declared on Tuesday that the Chief Minister would sign an agreement with Bainsla at CMO which would be followed by the press briefing by both leaders.

But the entire plan went heywire as some of the Gujjar leaders have objected to the language of the draft which does not clearly spell out three things agreed upon by both sides during the final round of dialogue on Tuesday evening.

One of the main negotiators and Gujjar leader, Delhi NCP MP, Rambir Singh Biduri told HT that he had refused to approve the draft which was brought to Bainsla by two senior bureaucrats of the Rajasthan government including SN Thanvi and divisional commissioner Bharatpur, Nirnajan Arya.

Biduri made it clear that Gujjar leaders and the state government had agreed on three things.

First, the Rajasthan government will send letter of recommendation to the Centre to include Gujjars in ST category, which will be based on the Centre’s two letters of Dec 3, 1999 and Jan 23, 2008.

The government had agreed to send a positive reply to Centre's 8-year-old letter of inclusion, exclusion and modifications of SC/ST lists dated December 3, 1999 from joint secretary, ministry of social welfare and empowerment government of India, Dr MS Ahamad to Rajasthan government.

It said, " in case any proposal of your government is left inadvertently, the same may be intimated to this ministry by Dec 22, 1999. If it is not received by the stipulated date then it would be presumed that the enclosed list is complete and no proposal is left out."

The Centre’s enclosed annexure contained 23 castes, including Gujjars, for the inclusion in the ST list.

Another letter from the Government of India dated Jan 23, 1999 also asked the state government to send its positive recommendations about Gujjars, which is obligatory in view of the Constitutional requirement.

Second, Biduri said that government had accepted the plea to withdraw the cases which had been registered against the demonstrators by the police during the agitation.

Third, the government had agreed to create special quota of 5 per cent for Gujjars and three other castes like Gadiya Lohar and Banjara, but now the government was adding more castes, which is violation of the understanding reached with Gujjar leaders.

The government officials had invited journalists for briefing at 12.30 pm but they were still waiting at the CMO.

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