Bainsla to appear before court
Issued a contempt notice by the Rajasthan High Court for allegedly violating its order restraining him from resorting to violence, Gujjar leader K.S. Bainsla said he would appear before court and place the grievances of his community before the bench.
"I will definitely try to appear before the court in person and speak about the grievances, injustices and torture meted out to the Gujjar community," Bainsla told IANS. The court has directed him to appear before it May 30.
"If I remain busy here, then my lawyer will represent me in the court," he said.
High court Justice Prem Shankar Asopa's notice came after a contempt petition against 13 Gujjars, including Bainsla, came up for hearing in the court Tuesday.
If Bainsla does not appear May 30, the court will issue a bailable warrant for his arrest.
However, his appearance depends on the situation in the state and whether a compromise is reached between the agitating Gujjars and the Vasundhara Raje government.
There are chances he could be arrested when he appears in the court, which could weaken the movement of the Gujjars, who are demanding Scheduled Tribe status.
Bainsla has also been booked by the state police on charges of murder and conspiracy against the state.
Asked about the criminal cases, which carry a punishment of life imprisonment, Bainsla rebelliously said: "Let them register as many false cases against me. By doing this they would not make me scared and I will continue fighting for my community."
The high court has asked the collector of Bharatpur to serve a contempt notice on Bainsla, who heads the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (Gujjar pro-reservation front).
At least 37 people have died in the agitation that began Friday with the Gujjars blocking roads and rail tracks in several places.
The court also sought an explanation from Rajasthan's chief secretary, home secretary and director general of police on the actions taken so far to prevent the breakdown of law and order in the state.
As the Gujjar movement showed little signs of ebbing, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was Monday summoned by Governor S.K. Singh.
In a meeting that lasted over 45 minutes, the chief minister apprised him of the steps being taken to maintain peace. The governor asked the chief minister to resolve the issue by holding talks with Gujjar leaders.
"The governor said the crisis had started affecting the common person and should be resolved as quickly as possible," sources in the governor's residence said.
According to state Additional Director General (Headquarters) Omander Bhardwaj, more than 50 Gujjars have been arrested in the Bharatpur district since Sunday.
"We have also seized 54 double barrel guns from them. If the situation does not improve, we will take serious measures," Bhardwaj told IANS.
The army has also been called out to help restore order in the state. Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor told reporters in New Delhi: "Our role depends on what the civil authorities require. Eighteen columns of army are out there in Dausa, Hindon and Bayana as requested by the state."