Fir­ing to ward off Gu­j­jars

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE - PRAKASH BHANDARI

The Ra­jasthan Po­lice re­sorted to fir­ing in Dholpur to ward off the ag­i­tat­ing Gu­j­jar com­mu­nity, which was try­ing to block the Mum­bai-Delhi na­tional high­way and crip­ple the road traf­fic.

As the protest turned vi­o­lent, three ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a bus and a car, were set ablaze. The com­mu­nity is clam­our­ing for a five per cent quota in jobs and ed­u­ca­tion. The pro­tes­tors wanted to crip­ple the road traf­fic af­ter block­ing the move­ment of trains be­tween Delhi and Mum­bai.

The tran­sit point for train traf­fic is Sawaimad­hopur in Ra­jasthan. The pro­tes­tors were seen squat­ting on the tracks at Malarna Doon­gar, which led to the can­cel­la­tion of 23 trains and the di­ver­sion of 20 oth­ers.

The Mum­bai bound trains are be­ing di­verted to Uj­jain and Itarsi, which has pro­longed the jour­ney time, caus­ing un­due hard­ship to sev­eral thou­sands of pas­sen­gers.

The leader of the Gu­j­jars, Kirori Singh Bainsla, said that the com­mu­nity re­grets the in­con­ve­nience caused to the masses be­cause of the ag­i­ta­tion, but they had no op­tion but to show their anger by stag­ing dhar­nas and dis­rupt­ing train move­ment.

He also said the state govern­ment had promised five per cent reser­va­tion to the com­mu­nity in its elec­tion man­i­festo.

Vi­jay Bainsla, another Gu­j­jar leader, said they had been want­ing to have talks with the govern­ment for the last 20 days. The ag­i­ta­tion comes nearly a month af­ter a10 per cent quota for the eco­nom­i­cally weaker sec­tions was cleared by par­lia­ment. The move was in­tro­duced as a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment, passed in Par­lia­ment and en­acted in a mat­ter of days.

The state govern­ment has set up a com­mit­tee with two min­is­ters and an IAS of­fi­cer as mem­bers for hold­ing talks, but they have made lit­tle head­way. Chief Min­is­ter Ashok Gehlot has said that the is­sue of reser­va­tion per­tains to a Con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment and can be sorted out only by the BJP-led govern­ment at the Cen­tre.

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