Rajasthan: #GujjarProtest for quota continues; 23 trains canceled, 20 diverted
Gujjar community leader Kirori Singh Bainsla along with supporters in Rajasthan continued the sit-in protest in Sawai Madhopur demanding the implementation of 5% quota in jobs and education for Gujjars, Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara, and Gadaria communities as promised by the state government. Agitators blocked railway tracks at Malarna Doongar near Sawai Madhopur; 23 trains were canceled today while 20 were diverted. Here's more.
All the train diversions and cancelations took place between "Sawai Madhopur to Bayana section and Nimoda to Malarna block section in Kota Division of Western Central Railway," according to ANI's tweet. While the railway line of the West Central Railway connecting Delhi to Mumbai is blocked, the Delhi-Jaipur-Agra route remains clear. Delhi bound trains were reportedly diverted via Mathura and Bharatpur.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot appealed to people to maintain peace even as the Gujjar quota protest continued at Malarna Doongar, about 125km from Jaipur. He said his government is ready to hold talks over the issue. "The government is serious in resolving the issue. The Congress government had heard the issues in the previous tenure and made efforts at the state level," he added.
The Rajasthan government has constituted a committee, comprising Health Minister Raghu Sharma, Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh, Social Justice Minister Master Bhanwar Lal, and senior government officials, for holding talks with the Gujjar community, according to Congress party sources.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has also postponed the exams for Anganwadi and agriculture supervisors in view of the Gujjar protest. However, no untoward incident has been reported in the state so far. "Our teams are alert and the deadlock may soon be over after today's meeting with the committee constituted by the government," PTI quoted DGP (Law and order) ML Lather as saying.
Authorities have deployed additional forces in Bharatpur Police Range under which Sawai Madhopur comes as a precautionary measure. "Seventeen RAC (Rajasthan Armed Constabulary) companies, including a special task force, have been deployed in the range," said Bhupendra Sahu, Inspector General (Bharatpur Range). "Senior police officers, who have...experience of working in the area, have been assigned duties. The situation is completely under control," he added.
Gujjar leader Bainsla, in January, gave the Rajasthan government a 20-day ultimatum to "clear its stand" over the 5% quota issue, threatening he would revive the agitation if the government failed to do so. He launched the sit-in protest as the deadline ended on Friday.
In 2017, the then Rajasthan government promised 5% reservation in a special category to Gujjars. The government planned for expansion of Other Backward Classes' reservation to 26% from 21%, giving 5% quota to Gujjars and others. However, such an expansion of reservation for Other Backward Classes to 26% will take the total reservations in Rajasthan beyond the 50% cap set by the Supreme Court.
The Bill for expanding the OBC quota in the state was introduced in the Rajasthan Assembly during the Monsoon Session in 2017. However, it was put on hold by the Rajasthan High Court after an appeal against the reservation.