Gujjar stir: Stand-off continues, protesters block more roads

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 00:36

Jaipur: Gujjars, on a war path over the
reservation issue, laid siege to more roads, highways and rail
routes and enforced shutdowns in some cities as the stand-off
between the community and the Rajasthan government persisted
for the 8th day Monday.

No further talks between Gujjars, demanding five per
cent quota in jobs and educational institutions, and the Ashok
Gehlot administration were held today to break the impasse.

Yesterday, the first round of talks at Pilukapura, the
epicentre of the stir, some 11-km from Bayana in Bharatpur
district, were deadlocked with Gujjars unrelenting on their
quota demand.

Around 200 protesters today jammed the Jaipur-Ajmer
highway at Mangaliawas in Ajmer district throwing road traffic
haywire.

Late last night, some protesters set ablaze a truck near
Kotputli town on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, police said adding
no one was injured.

Besides the Dausa-Bharatpur highway, agitators continued
to squat on Karauli-Hindaun, Mahaveerji-Karauli, Mahua-Hindaun
and Gangapur-Lalsot roads in the state, police said.

Hundreds of Gujjars continued to stage sit-ins on tracks
in Bharatpur, Dausa and Tonk districts affecting rail traffic.

They also disturbed movement of trains in Sawaimadhopur.

State roadways buses and other vehicles could not enter
Bharatpur and Ajmer cities due to blockade on the highways,
police said.

Partial shutdowns, in support of Gujjar demands, were
observed in Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Jhalwar and some other towns,
reports said. Movement of trains on the Ajmer-Indore section at
Bhilwara, which was vacated by the agitators last evening,
resumed today.

But the Gujjars squatted on Delhi-Mumbai rail tracks
near Malarna in Sawaimadhopur district, police said.

Nearly a thousand Gujjars, led by their leader Kirori
Singh Bainsla, are staging a sit-in at Pilukapura in Bharapur
district.

"I know the agitation is causing a great problem to
the people but we do not have any other option," Bainsla told
reporters.

"We will call off the stir as soon as our reservation
demand is met," said the spearhead of the Gujjar agitation.

The stir has badly hit transport industry and supply
of goods in the state with several thousand trucks stranded in
different parts of the state for the last few days.

The Jaipur-Agra National Highway-11, a key route for
the transporters, is blocked.

"The stir is causing a loss of around Rs 20 crore per
day and has led to hike in prices of commodities by five to
ten per cent," Vedbhushan, President of the Rajasthan Truck
and Transport Operators Union said.

North-Western Railways have refunded over Rs one
crore following the cancellation of a large number of tickets
in the wake of diversion and rescheduling of trains.

"We have refunded Rs 1.10 crore till last night. This
is the amount of the last three days. Cancellations are still
on," an NWR official said. Gujjar leader Roop Singh, a close aide of Bainsla, said there were no official talks today.

"There is no further development. There is no
invitation from the government for talks," he said.

Yesterday, Bainsla rejected the government`s offer to
set up a committee with him as one of the members to resolve
the reservation issue.

"I want a permanent solution to this because I do not
want to leave things half-way," he had said threatening to
intensify the agitation if their demands were not met within
seven days. Gehlot met representatives of nomadic communities and
said his government was determined to protect their interests
pertaining to the quota issue.

The matter was, however, sub-judice, he told leaders
of Gujjar, Gadia Lohar, Banjara, and Rebari communities at his
residence here.

On collection of quantifiable data as directed by the
Rajasthan High Court, Gehlot said it was imperative the
exercise should be carried out in a proper manner.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 00:36

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