Gujjars defer OBC quota agitation to May 23


The Gujjar leaders on Tuesday deferred by one week the agitation for bifurcation of the Other Backward Class (OBC) reservation to give the community 5% quota in jobs and education in Rajasthan. About 1,000 villagers attended a ‘Mahapanchayat’ (sit-in) of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti at Adda in Bharatpur district.
Gujjar supremo and Samiti’s convenor Kirori Singh Bainsla said the community expected the State government to get the legal opinion and resolve the issue soon. “Gujjars will assemble again at Pilukapura village on May 23 and raise the demand for reservation. The message to the government from this Mahapanchayat is already loud and clear,” he said.
Pilukapura is one of the villages in Bharatpur district where several Gujjars were killed in the police firing during the agitation in 2008. Tuesday’s mass meeting was organised at Adda, near Bayana, after a meeting of Gujjars’ representatives with a Ministerial sub-committee in Jaipur on Monday night remained inconclusive.
Col. Bainsla said he was not satisfied with the meeting, but added that he would not back out of the agitation if Gujjars did not get their right. “States like Kerala, Bihar and Karnataka have sub-divided their OBC quota. Why can’t it happen in Rajasthan?” he asked, while emphasising that the government must show its “political will”.
The sit-in was disrupted a couple of times by strong and dusty winds. Sangharsh Samiti leader Himmat Singh, who attended the talks in Jaipur, said that though there were 13 points which were discussed with the Ministers, the most important one related to the OBC quota’s sub-categorisation. He said the State government was not yet willing to give a clear assurance on the issue. Besides the mass meeting at Adda, two other meetings were also organised elsewhere by other factions of the Gujjar community. A meeting at Marauli village was addressed by leaders backing Col. Bainsla, while the other one at Tonta Baba Ka Sthan was organised by rival Gujjar leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.
Strict security arrangements were made in the eastern Rajasthan districts of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli and Dausa ahead of the ‘Mahapanchayat’ and additional forces were pressed into service to protect the public property, including the Delhi-Mumbai and Jaipur-Delhi railway tracks passing through the region.
Gujjars and four other nomadic communities were earlier grouped as a special backward class and the State government had tried thrice to grant them 5% reservation. However, the legislation was struck down every time by the Rajasthan High Court, which ruled that the quota had not only exceeded the 50% limit, but was also not supported by the quantifiable data.


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