Rajasthan government bows down to Gujjar demand
The Gujjar agitation was called off after the Rajasthan government agreed to introduce a bill ensuring 5% reservation in government-run institutions for Gujjars and 4 other castes. This 5% quota is beyond the legal limit of 50% reservation. The government is also set to bring a separate bill for reserving 14% for economically backward classes. After this, general category seats would remain a mere 31%.
The entire Gujjar agitation began with the vehement demands of the community to be given Scheduled Tribe status along with three other communities. They wanted 5% reservation in the Special Backward Classes category, within the 50% reservation limit. Other than the 5% for Gujjars, Rebaris, Gadia Luhars and Banjaras; they also seeked an additional 14% reservation to Economically Backward Classes.
On 23 March 2008, 'Rail Roko' agitation in Peelupura led to disruption in rail traffic. Protesters blocked rail routes. In clashes with Gujjars, 16 agitators were killed. Following the violent demonstrations at Sikandra in Dausa district where they tried to burn a police station, the Indian Army had to intervene; 15 protestors and a policeman were killed.
Due to no subsequent action from the government regarding the 5% quota, Gujjars again went on strike. 1500 paramilitary personnels were called in by the Gehlot government to maintain peace. At least 9 trains were jammed on the Jaipur-Delhi and Mumbai-Delhi routes. The agitation was called off after 17 days with the government's assurance that it would quantify the data within 6 months.
On 28 November 2012, the State Cabinet issued 5% quota to the SBCs without tampering with the 21% reservation available to Other Backward Classes. This meant that the overall reservation in education and jobs would be 54%. The Rajasthan HC stayed the 5% reservation for Special Backward Classes on 30 January 2013. The court slashed down this request as 'unjustified' and 'unconstitutional'.
On 22 May 2015, the Gujjar Reservation Front of Rajasthan met for their 'mahapanchayat' in Bharatpur. 1000 protesters blocked the railway tracks, refusing to budge unless the reservation demands were met. The government failed to make any promises, as the matter lies at court's disposal. As a result, 70 trains were affected. 10 were cancelled while others were diverted along the Mumbai-Delhi route.
A total of 72 lives have been lost so far in the tussle for reservation by the Gujjars.