ST demand: Gujjars announce 24-hr sit-in
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Last Updated: Sunday, July 26, 2009, 20:31
Jaipur: The Gujjar agitation on ST quota demand on Sunday showed signs of revival with leader Kirori Singh Bainsla asking community members congregating for a 'mahapanchayat' not to go back but stage a sit-in to build pressure on the Rajasthan government to get the pending reservation bill cleared.

In the mahapanchayat, which began at Penchla mod near Hindon city in Karuali district this afternoon, Bainsla, spearheading the agitation for the past three years, asked Gujjars to stay back overnight at the place for a 24 hour 'mahapadav' (sit-in).

He said the Congress government would have to provide five per cent reservation as envisaged in the bill which was passed by the previous BJP government. The bill was sent to the Governor and is awaiting his assent.

Additional DGP (Law and Order) Navdeep Singh, who is camping and supervising force deployment, said there was no untoward incident so far and prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC are in force since yesterday in Karauli and adjoining districts of Sawaimadhopur, Dausa, Dholpur, Bharatpur and parts of Jaipur rural.

He said the security cover would continue till the mahapadav, attended by nearly 4,000 Gujjars, ends. Personnel of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary, Rapid Action Force, Riot Control, STF are keeping strict vigil in the area.

Singh said rail, road and air services were not affected anywhere in the state.

Twenty-seven magistrates have been deputed to overview the law and order situation, he said.

Earlier in the day, state BJP chief Arun Chaturvedi urged the Ashok Gehlot government that it should convince and pursue the Governor to give his assent on the bill passed during the Vasundhara Raje regime for Gujjars and three other communities.

BJP will not tolerate any new amendment in the existing bill, if the governor redirects it to the state assembly, and ruling Congress tries to reduce the total quota per cent of 68 per cent to 50 per cent, Chaturvedi warned.

According to the Rajasthan SC,ST, OBC, Special Backward classes, and Economically Backward Classes Bill-2008, there was 16 per cent reservation for SCs, 12 per cent for STs, 21 per cent for OBCs, 5 per cent for Gurjars, Rebaris, Gardia Lohars and Banjaras, and 14 per cent for EBCs.

The Gehlot government has assured Gujjar leaders that it could provide five per cent reservation based on law and Constitution, and limit of overall 50 per cent could not be crossed in any case. A high-level ministerial meeting told a Gujjar delegation here on July 24 that the bill would require amendment.

Meanwhile, government envoy and Energy Minister Jitendra Singh has appealed to the protesting Gujjar leaders to end their 'mahapadav' and come to Jaipur to meet Gehlot for negotiations.

A Gujjar himself, Singh said a joint delegation of the government and community leaders could meet Governor S K Singh, who is likely to return from the US tomorrow, to request him to expedite the bill.

"The Chief Minister is committed to provide five per cent quota under the law and constitution to Gujjars and three other communities," he said.

On the other hand, Gehlot reviewed with senior officials the law-and-order situation which he found satisfactory and incident free, an official spokesman said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, July 26, 2009, 20:31

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