‘Will do Whatever We Can,’ Says Gehlot as Gujjar Protests Continue
As the Gujjar protests continue in Rajasthan, CM Ashok Gehlot has assured that the government is ready to help and will do whatever they can.
“The government is ready to help them, they need to voice their demands to the Centre, and it’s up to the Centre what decision they take”, said Gehlot.
Asking what the point of staging a protest is, he said, “Trains have been cancelled or diverted, who is at loss? It’s the country that is at a loss.” He said that he would like to make an appeal to them to start a dialogue with the government.
The Gujjar protest demanding reservation for five communities, including Gujjars, turned violent on Sunday, 10 February, as shots were fired and three police vehicles were torched in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district.
On the fourth day of their agitation, the Gujjar community members blocked National Highway 11, which connects Jaipur with Agra, in Rajasthan's Dausa district on Monday. As of now, one national highway, one state highway and two arterial roads and Delhi-Mumbai railway tracks are blocked in Rajasthan, leading to cancellation and diversion of several trains, reported PTI.
Kirori Singh Bainsla, who led the protest, had started a dharna along with his supporters on the railway tracks in Rajasthan on Friday, 8 February. As the protest continue, four trains have been diverted and one was cancelled on Monday. One train plying on 12 February has been cancelled as well, reported ANI.
“We will leave only after getting 5 percent reservation. It’s my personal request to the government, don’t do anything which can provoke the people of Rajasthan, people are waiting for my instructions. Let’s sort it out in a peaceful manner. The earlier the better,” Bainsla told ANI on 11 February.
Three police vehicles, including two jeeps and a bus were set afire by agitators, Singh added.
The SP said the protesters also pelted stones, injuring four jawans. The police had to lob tear gas shells to disperse the crowd, according to the report.
Prohibitory orders under CrPc Section 144 in Dholpur and neighbouring Karauli districts have been imposed as the authorities take stock of the situation. The orders are still in effect in some places.
Trains Diverted & Cancelled Due to Protests
Locals in Karauli district's Hindaun city on Saturday also began a protest in support of the Gujjars’ sit-in in Sawai Madhopur, blocking roads, reported ANI.
According to an ANI report, members of the Gujjar community were holding the sit-in protest on the railway tracks in Sawai Madhopur’s Maksudanpura, as part of reservation movement.
“We have a good CM and a good PM. We want them to listen to the demands of the Gujjar community. It isn't an uphill task for them to provide reservation,” said the protesters.
The Gujjars have given a 20-day ultimatum to the state government to clear its stand on providing the quota.
The blockade has forced the West Central Railway (CWR) to divert, cancel or partially terminate nearly 200 trains since Friday, reported PTI.
Rajasthan Chief Minister said:
On Saturday, in the same area, due to ‘unavoidable circumstances’, the Rajasthan Staff Selection Board’s Agricultural Supervisor Direct Recruitment-2018 exam, scheduled to be held on Sunday in Jaipur and Kota, has been postponed. The Supervisor (Angandwadi worker) recruitment exam scheduled to be held in Ajmer has also been postponed, reported ANI.
‘State Govt Should Stand on its Promise’
Kirori Singh Bainsla gave a 20-day “ultimatum” to the state government last month to clear its stand on reservation to the communities in government jobs and educational institutes, failing which, he threatened to revive the quota agitation.
As the deadline lapsed on Friday, Bainsla, after holding a ‘Maha Panchayat’ at Malarna Dungar in Sawai Madhopur district, started the sit-in along with his supporters, blocking trains.
“Things are changing fast. I have not come here but the crowd has brought me on the railway tracks. People cannot be fooled all the time. It is a fight to do or die. State government should stand on its promise. It will be a peaceful protest. I will lead the protest and the youths will support.”Kirori Singh Bainsla told reporters
As the protest started, high-level meetings were held in the state capital to find out ways to pacify the agitators.
The protestors are demanding five per cent separate reservation to Gujjars, Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara and Gadaria for government jobs and admission in educational institutions.
Currently, these communities are getting one per cent separate reservation under the legal limit of 50 percent under the most-backward category in addition to OBC reservation.
Bainsla Gets Notice From Government
The Rajasthan government on Sunday pasted a notice at the residence of Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, who is leading the protest that turned violent in some areas and saw rail and road traffic being disrupted, warning him against violation of court directives on agitation.
In the notice pasted by the Karauli district administration at Bainsla's Hindaun residence, it has been stated that the Supreme Court and different high courts have, on several occasions, directed that no public or private property be damaged and rail or railway traffic be disrupted during any agitation.
“If the Supreme Court and High Court directives are not followed, you will be held responsible for contempt of court,” the notice said.
District Collector Nannu Mal Pahadia said the notice was issued by the state's Home Department, said PTI.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)