Gujjars call off 17-day agitation
Gujjars, demanding 5 percent quota in jobs in Rajasthan, on Wednesday night called off their 17-day agitation after the state govt assured them that it will complete within six months the quantifiable data collection for the purpose.
“I have called off the agitation. I am satisfied with what the state government has offered to us,” Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, spearheading the agitation, told reporters after holding talks with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and a Committee of Ministers appointed by the state government in Jaipur on Wednesday night. Bainsla and his team agreed to the government’s assurance that it will complete the quantifiable data collection within six months and keep four percent backlog of services.
“The Government has promised that the quantifiable data shall be ready within six months. Four per cent backlog will be kept while one per cent reservation will continue. Many other facilities for students have also been promised,” he said after signing an agreement with the government in this regard.Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the government will file a review petition in the Rajathan High Court for considering the five percent reservation under SBC to Gujjars, Gadia Lohar, Raika-Rebari, and Banjara in Rajasthan till the quantifiable data exercise is completed. He said that the government will complete the quantifiable data collection within six months and submit it to the OBC commission as directed by the High Court on 22nd December last year.
A delegation of around 40 members led by Bainsla first held a meeting with the committee of ministers comprising Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal, Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, himself a Gujjar, and Transport Minister B K Sharma for over 7 hours. After the meeting, the Gujjar leaders signed an agreement with the state government and later met Chief Minister at the CMO and called off the agitation. According to the agreement, the government has promised to dispose the cases lodged against the agitators. A three-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) will decide upon 170 cases in which chargesheets have been filed in courts. The committee will take decision within two months on such cases. Remaining 254 cases lodged during 2010-2011 will also be disposed within the same duration. The government said that one percent reservation to these communities will continue (under the reservation ceiling of 50 percent) and four percent vacancies will be kept reserved for Special Backward Class and will be filled later accordingly.
The government has already announced to start recruitment on 1 lakh vacant posts in the state services and now four percent (4,000) shall be kept reserved for SBC category. After completing the data collection exercise as directed by the HC, a special recruitment drive would be started to fill these vacancies within three months, the agreement said. The agitation, which began on 20th December, has seen the Gujjars blocking several rail and road routes, causing hardship to people and loss to various industries in the state.
The agitators have been blocking Mumbai-Delhi rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bharatpur, and Jaipur-Agra National Highway at Dausa and several other roads in support of their demand. The state government assured the Gujjars to send the provisions of the reservation act to the Center for its inclusion in the IXth schedule of the Constitution. It was also assured to dispose the pending cases of government services to the kin of those killed. The government said that it has already disposed 58 such cases and four cases are pending in which the kin of deceased is to be given government job. Pending cases of compensation to injured and pension to those permanently disabled during the previous agitations will also be disposed, expeditiously. No fundamental provision of Devnarayan Board will be changed and the decision to increase its budget will be taken in the next state budget 2011-12 to carry out developmental works in the gujjar populated area. Increasing the scholarship to the students of SBC, opening up of new schools, colleges and other educational intuitions, hostles, expansion of medical facilities in the Gujjar populated area were other assurances made by the government to which Gujjars agreed.
The written agreement was signed by Kirori Singh Bainsla, Coordinator of Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti and Additional Chief Secretary (Home) PK Dev. 11 Gujjar delegates also signed the agreement as members. Roop Singh, aide of Bainsla, said that the agitators squatting on the Delhi-Mumbai tracks at Pilukapura, have been asked to vacate the rail tracks. The Jaipur-Agra national highway and several other interior routes in Bharatpur, Karauli and nearby places will also be unoccupied shortly, he said. The agitation began on 20th December and Gujjars led by Bainsla occupied the Delhi-Mumbai rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bharatpur district. Several interior roads in Karauli, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Alwar, Sawaimadhopur and Jhunjhunu districts were also blocked by the agitators. However, after few days, the agitators unoccupied railway tracks in Dausa, Bhilwara, Tonk and several roads, but kept closed the rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bharatpur and at Malarna in Sawaimadhopur, Jaipur-Agra highway at Dausa and a few routes in Bharatpur and Karauli.
Jaipur-Ajmer highway and Jaipur-Kota highway were also blocked for several hours during the agitation at Ajmer and Bundi districts respectively, and were reopened following the intervention of civil administration and police authorities. The state government had called in forces from the Center besides its own deployment but no untoward incident took place during the agitation and it passed off peacefully. However, it caused huge loss to railways, tourism, transport and other industries in the state and caused hardship to people. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated the agitators after the stir and said that the government will fulfil its promises and commitment. “I congratulate Gujjars that they called off the agitation. They were squatting on rail tracks in the severe cold which was painful for us also. We will fulfil our promises made to the Gujjars,” Gehlot said.