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Gujjar leaders and Raje Govt begin talks

Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla is not attending the parleys and is camping with his supporter in Bharatpur's Karwadi-Pilupura area, reports KS Tomar.
By KS.Tomar | Hindustan Times, Jaipur
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2008 05:11 PM IST

The main dialogue, aimed at resolving the 22-day old standoff began between the representatives of the Rajasthan government and a 28-member strong delegation of the Gujjars in Jaipur on Saturday. The talks started at 10 am in Jaipur’s Official Training School.

Chairman of Rajasthan Gujjars Arakshan Samiti, Col Kirori Singh Bainsala is not participating in the talks. The 28-members Gujjar delegation has been drawn from different states like Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan.

State government’s nine-member delegation is being headed by national treasurer and BJP MP Ram das Agarwal. The other 8 nominees include four ministers, three top bureaucrats and state BJP chief Om Parkash Mathur.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is expected to participate in the final round of the talks provided the outcome of the current dialogue yields positive result.

Gujjar delegation came to Jaipur late on Thursday evening in their private vehicles, which forced the State government to start the dialogue on Friday morning.

Col Bainsla said at Piloopura, "I am sure that both sides will adopt a flexible attitude which will contribute in finding out the solution to the current agitation. The Gujjar community wants ST status which is well-known to the government."

"Gujjar delegation has gone to Jaipur with an open mind and I will also take part in negotiations whenever proper opportunity arises,” Col Bainsla said.

The preliminary talks between state government and a 38-member Gujjar delegation was held at Bayana in Bharatpur district on June 9. The talks ended on a conciliatory note.

It was decided that the next round of talks will be held at Jaipur, but everything was stalled when Col Bainsla put forth his precondition asking government to release 24 women who had been arrested by the police on June 6 at Bandikui in Dausa district. The police had registered cases against them under Railways Act for damaging the track.

A fast track court at Dausa granted bail to the Gujjar women on June 12, which paved the way for resumption of the dialogue.

Gujjars are demanding ST status, compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to those killed in police firing (38 so far), employment to the kin of deceased, withdrawal of the cases registered against the demonstrators and release of the arrested people.
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