On Day 4, Gujjar quota stir starts spreading in Rajasthan

Gujjar protesters demanding five percent special quota in government jobs and education for their community put up fresh blockades at five places on national and state highways in Rajasthan as their agitation spread to other parts of the state on Monday.

Rajasthan’s director general of police (law and order) M L Lather said the five places included Sikandara along the Jaipur-Agra National Highway in Dausa district and Banas bridge that connecting Jaipur with Kota.

He said the protesters also blocked traffic at three places in Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Nagaur and Dholpur districts. But the police were able to clear the blockades, he added.

The Gujjar protesters have been sitting on railway tracks near Malarna Dungar in Sawai Madhopur demanding the reservation since Friday. They have forced suspension of rail traffic on the Delhi-Mumbai route in Kota division.

According to the northwestern railway, two trains were cancelled elsewhere in the state on Monday, while four others were diverted because of the agitation.

The blockade of a state highway in Bundi district, Malarna road in Sawai Madhopur and Karauli-Hindaun City Road in Budla village, too, continued on Monday.

A demonstration for the reservation was also held at Gumanpura in Kota on Monday.

Around half-a-dozen policemen were injured when Gujjar protesters threw stones, fired from country-made pistols and torched vehicles when police tried to remove a blockade put on Agra-Gwalior national highway on Sunday in Dholpur.

Kirori Singh Bainsla, the head of Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti that is leading the agitation for the quota, on Monday said the government should come up with its proposal and tell him what plans it has for his community. He said they will leave the railway tracks only after getting five percent special reservation.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot said they have done what they could. “The Gujjar community knows that during my tenure as the chief minister I decided to give them one percent reservation… We fulfilled the demand for five percent reservation, but the high court did not accept it,” he said, referring to reservation provided to Gujjars under the Special Backward Class category after similar agitations in 2007 and 2008 left dozens of people dead.

The Rajasthan high court stayed the move saying it breached the 50% limit the Supreme Court has imposed on the reservation.

The Gujjar community resumed the agitation saying the limit has been breached with the Centre giving 10% reservation to economically backward sections in January.

A non-governmental organisation challenged the 10% reservation before the Supreme Court on January 10 saying it breaches the 50% cap.

The Rajasthan government has maintained that the Centre alone can provide the five percent reservation under the Economically Backward Classes category to Gujjars.

First Published: Feb 12, 2019 00:05 IST

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