Gujjar talks drag, to continue Wednesday

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

JAIPUR - The meeting between Gujjar leader Colonel (retd) K.S. Bainsla and Rajasthan government representatives Tuesday once again remained inconclusive. However, both the parties have agreed to meet again Wednesday morning.

The community’s stir for five percent reservation in government jobs entered its 16th day Tuesday and disruption of some train services continued.

Soon after arriving in Jaipur in the evening, Bainsla straight away went to meet state Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, himself a Gujjar.

Singh along with senior government officials held talks with Bainsla and his close associates for over two hours.

Nothing much came out of the meeting. The government still is not clear on our reservation demand, Himmat Singh, a Gujjar leader, said after the meeting.

Bainsla has agreed to take part in tomorrow’s (Wednesday) meeting, which clearly shows that today’s meeting ended on a positive note,, Jitendra Singh said.

He said that the government is ready to accept nine of their 11 demands and deliberations are continuing on the remaining two.

The remaining demands will be discussed in Wednesday’s meeting, said Singh.

I am sure that soon an amicable solution could be reached, the minister said.

Earlier Tuesday, after holding discussions with his community members, Bainsla, who heads the agitating community, decided to come to Jaipur to hold direct talks with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

Roop Singh, spokesperson of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti that spearheads the agitation since Dec 20, told IANS said that Bainsla decided to come to Jaipur after getting some “positive” feedback from the delegation that has been holding talks with a three-member ministerial panel.

Talks between the Gujjar delegation and the Rajasthan government broke down Monday with the community leaders blaming the government for not accepting three major demands.

Himmat Singh said: “They did not accept our demand to stop the government recruitment process till an amicable solution is found to our reservation issue. The government failed to say how and by when five percent reservation would be provided to us.”

“They (the government) also did not give us any assurance on withdrawing the cases against the protesters,” he had said after the meeting.

The state government, however, said the talks were fruitful.

Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal, one of the trio negotiating with the Gujjars, said: “These talks have helped us to move forward towards an amicable solution.”

Besides Dhariwal, the committee comprises Energy Minister Jitendra Singh and Transport Minister B.K. Sharma.

As efforts to break the impasse continued, the Gujjars sustained their protests Tuesday morning by continuing to squat on the rail tracks near Bayana in Bharatpur district and block trains. There were long delays in services between Delhi and Mumbai.

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

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