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


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

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