Rajasthan: Gujjar stage protest, demand 5% quota promised by govt
Jaipur: On the second day of their agitation, members of the Gujjar community continued to block railway tracks at Malarna Doongar near Sawai Madhopur, leading to the cancellation of five trains and the re-routing of 15. The Gujjar community has staged the protest against state government to implement the 5 per cent reservation that it had promised to them.
The blocked railway track in the West Central Railway connects Delhi to Mumbai. The Delhi-Jaipur-Agra line, however, remains clear.
Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla started a dharna, on Friday, along with his supporters on the railway tracks in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, demanding reservation for five communities including Gujjars.
The agitation came nearly a month after 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections in the forward cast, in jobs and education was passed in parliament. The move was introduced as a constitutional amendment, passed in parliament and enacted in a matter of days.
The validity of the 10 per cent quota, however, will be examined by the apex court. The government, although, has argued that since the bill provides reservation on basis of income, not caste, it was not subject to the 50 per cent bar.
“We have a good chief minister and a good prime minister. We want that they listen to the demands of Gujjar community. It isn’t an uphill task for them to provide reservation,” a protester from Gujjar community said.
The Gujjars questions that say if 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward can be passed, then why not for them.
“We want 5 per cent reservation. The government hasn’t responded to my request. So, I am going to start an agitation,” another protester said.
The Rajasthan government, meanwhile, has formed a three-member committee comprising cabinet ministers Raghu Sharma, Vishvendra Singh and Master Bhanwar Lal to initiate talks with the Gujjar community.
The state government had assured the Gujjar community of 5 per cent reservation in a special category in 2017 after a bout of agitation. It had planned to expand the reservation for Other Backward Classes from 21 per cent to 26 per cent and give 5 per cent reservation to Gujjars and other castes.
However, after the expansion, the total reservation in the state would have crossed the 50 per cent ceiling set by the Supreme Court.
The Gujjar community has so far held four agitations, demanding reservations from 2007 up to 2015. Previously, they had blocked rail and road traffic and during 2007 and 2008 agitation, more than 70 people lost their lives in the clashes. In the later years, i.e. 2010 and 2015, only rail and road traffic was disrupted.