Talks resume between Gujjars, Rajasthan government

Monday, January 3, 2011

JAIPUR - Talks between the agitating Gujjar community and the Rajasthan government resumed Monday after the first round remained inconclusive even as the community’s agitation for five percent reservation in government jobs entered the 15th day, disrupting some train services.

The talks between the 51-member Gujjar delegation sent by the community and the state government’s three-member ministerial committee resumed around 12.30 p.m. at the main secretariat building here, officials said.

The committee comprises state Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal and Transport Minister B.K. Sharma.

On Sunday, talks between the Gujjar delegation and the panel, which started at around 7 p.m. and went on late into the night, remained inconclusive.

“We have accepted some of their demands and are optimistic of an amicable solution to the agitation,” an official of the state home department said Monday morning.

The Gujjars, however, remained firm on their demand for five percent reservation. “We do not want anything less then five percent reservation and will only call off our agitation after a solution is reached,” said Srikrishna Bainsla, a member of the Gujjar delegation.

As efforts to break the impasse continued, the Gujjars sustained their protests Monday morning by squatting on the rail tracks near Bayana in Bharatpur district and blocking train services. There were long delays in services between Delhi and Mumbai.

The rail blockade began Dec 20 after a ‘mahapanchayat’ (community conclave) in Bayana.

Colonel (retired) K. S. Bainsla, convener of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti, is not part of the delegation holding talks with the government. It is instead being led by Basanta Sarpanch, Roop Singh, spokesperson of the Samiti that is spearheading the agitation, had told IANS Sunday.

Official sources said that after the meeting, chances are high that Bainsla will come here for a meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Monday or Tuesday to formalise some sort of an agreement.

Roop Singh said the community’s future course of action would depend much on the outcome of this meeting.

On Saturday, after a meeting attended by Minister of State of Communications Sachin Pilot, Jitendra Singh, and other leaders, the government had requested Bainsla to send a delegation for talks.

Pilot said that the Gehlot government was committed to provide reservation to Gujjars, but the high court ruling on the issue also needed to be considered.

Gehlot had met a delegation of Gujjar leaders Friday in a bid to break the deadlock. The delegation was led by former Congress legislator Harisingh Mahua.

The Rajasthan government had in 2009 announced five percent reservation for Gujjars and 14 percent for the economically backward classes, taking the total reservation in the state for various sections of society to 68 percent, more than the 50 percent cap set by Supreme Court.

In a ruling Dec 22, 2010, the high court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.

The Gujjars had staged violent protests between 2006 and 2008 as well in which many lives were lost.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

will not be displayed