de­cod­ing the stir

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Ht Nation -

Who are the Gu­j­jars?

A pas­toral com­mu­nity, who, as per the 1931 caste cen­sus, con­sti­tute about 5% of Ra­jasthan’s pop­u­la­tion. Tra­di­tion­ally, they have been BJP sup­port­ers

What is their de­mand?

They are de­mand­ing 5% reser­va­tion un­der spe­cial back­ward classes (SBC) cat­e­gory, a sub-cat­e­gory un­der OBC. The Gu­j­jars are getting OBC reser­va­tion since 1994. They started de­mand­ing SBC reser­va­tion af­ter the de­mand for giv­ing them ST sta­tus was re­jected by a govern­ment panel.

Did they get 5% SBC quota ear­lier?

Yes, three at­tempts have been made.

The Va­sund­hara Raje-led BJP govern­ment in 2008 brought a bill for 5% SBC reser­va­tion to Gu­j­jars and four other com­mu­ni­ties. The Ra­jasthan high court stayed the law on De­cem­ber 22, 2010, and asked the state to present quan­tifi­able data to sup­port reser­va­tions un­der SBC The govern­ment re­pealed the 2008 Act and in­tro­duced a new bill in Septem­ber 2015, grant­ing them SBC reser­va­tion in jobs and state govern­ment-run ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. The Ra­jasthan HC struck it down on De­cem­ber 9, 2016, on the ground that it crossed the Supreme Court’s 50% limit for

quota in ed­u­ca­tion and jobs. The state govern­ment brought a bill in 2017 to raise the OBC quota from the present 21% to 26% for grant­ing 5% reser­va­tion to Gu­j­jars and other castes. This, too, was struck down by the HC

How much quota do they get?

Cur­rently, they are getting 1% quota un­der most back­ward class (MBC) cat­e­gory, apart from OBC reser­va­tion. Reser­va­tion in the state stands at 50% – 16% to SC, 12% to ST, 21% to OBC and 1% to Gu­j­jars

Have there been stirs in the past?

In May 2007, Gu­j­jars blocked the Agra-jaipur na­tional high­way. Twenty-eight peo­ple were killed in po­lice fir­ing. In May 2008, they laid siege to the Delhi-mum­bai rail route in Bharat­pur dis­trict, and al­legedly lynched a cop. This led to fir­ing by po­lice that claimed 15 lives. In 2010 and 2015, they blocked rail­way tracks but there was no vi­o­lence. The Gu­j­jars lost more than 70 peo­ple to po­lice fir­ing and clashes with the Meenas, who were op­pos­ing their de­mand for ST sta­tus in 2007.

Who is lead­ing them?

Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla, 85, has been lead­ing the com­mu­nity since 2006 . He con­tested the 2009 Lok Sabha elec­tion on a BJP ticket and lost.


■ Po­lice ve­hi­cles set ablaze in Ra­jasthan on Sun­day by pro­test­ers de­mand­ing five per­cent quota for Gu­j­jars.

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