Rajasthan: Gujjars launch quota protest; rail-tracks blocked, Delhi-Mumbai route hit
The Gujjar community in Rajasthan has launched a protest demanding the implementation of the 5% quota in jobs and education as promised by the state government. Hundreds of the Gujjar community members are agitating on the railway tracks in the state's Sawai Madhopur blocking them to demand reservation. The dharna has affected train services on the Delhi-Mumbai rail route. Here are more details.
Due to the Gujjar protest on the railway tracks at Sawai Madhopur, about 150km from Jaipur, four trains were terminated before they reached their destinations. Meanwhile, seven trains were diverted and one was canceled by Indian Railways in view of the agitation. "We want 5% reservation. The government hasn't responded to my request...," Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla was quoted as saying by ANI.
"Things are changing fast. I have not come here but the crowd has brought me on the railway tracks. People cannot be fooled all the time," said Bainsla talking to reporters. "It is a fight to do or die. State government should stand on its promise. It will be a peaceful protest. I will lead the protest...the youths will support," the Gujjar leader added.
Rajasthan: Members of Gujjar community hold reservation movement in Sawai Madhopur. Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla says, “We want 5% reservation. Govt hasn't responded to my request. So, I am going to do an agitation. Govt should give, I don’t know from where do they give? pic.twitter.com/FowC95S02E— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2019
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has reportedly constituted a three-member committee, comprising cabinet ministers, for leading talks with the Gujjar community. The protest comes a month after the Parliament cleared 10% quota for the economically-backward general category members in jobs and education. The Gujjars are questioning why the government cannot clear reservation for them if the 10% quota for the economically-backward category can be passed.
The Gujjar community launched four agitations between 2007-15, during which protesters blocked railway and road traffic; in 2007-08, 70 people lost their lives in clashes. In 2017, after another bout of agitation, Rajasthan's 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, the 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. Though a bill for expanding the OBC reservation was introduced in 2017 during the Rajasthan Assembly's Monsoon Session, it was put on hold by the Rajasthan High Court after an appeal against the same.