Gujjarprotesters open fire onpolice,torchvehicles
Section 144 imposed, three arrested; agitators threaten to intensify stir
law and order.
The agitation affected rail traffic as two trains were cancelled on Sunday. At least 20 trains were cancelled and seven diverted during the day as the protesters, led by the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti chief Kirori Singh Bainsla, said an official of the north-western railway who was not authorised to speak to the media.
The Gujjar community launched the stir on Friday seeking the quota under the special backward classes (SBC) category saying the ruling Congress promised it in its manifesto before the 2018 assembly elections.
The state government had provided Gujjars reservation under the SBC category after similar agitations in 2007 and 2008 left dozens of people dead. The Rajasthan high court stayed the move in 2016 saying it breached the 50% limit the Supreme Court has imposed on the reservation. The Gujjar community resumed the agitation saying the limit has been breached with the Centre giving 10% reservation to economically backward sections in January.
A non-governmental organisation challenged the 10% reservation before the Supreme Court on January 10 saying it breaches the 50% cap.
The Rajasthan government has maintained that the Centre alone can provide the five percent EBC reservation to Gujjars.
The pastoral community, which accounts for roughly five percent of Rajasthan’s population, gets one percent reservation under the Most Backward Class (MBC) category. It also gets quota benefits under the Other Backward Class category.
Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma, who is a member of the ministerial committee constituted to hold talks with the Gujjar leaders, said the government’s intentions are clear and that “doors for talks are open.”