Bharatpur (BTE): A total 70 trains have been affected – ten of them cancelled and the others diverted – on the busy route that connects Delhi and Mumbai, as hundreds of protesters sat overnight on rail tracks in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district to demand reservation in the state for Gujjars.
A railway statement listed the trains affected, among them Rajdhani trains between Delhi and Mumbai and also Shatabdis. It said the agitation had begun at 6 pm on Thursday, affecting train traffic.
On Thursday evening, the Gujjar Reservation Front of Rajasthan had called for a ‘mahapanchayat’ or big meeting in Samogar village of Bharatpur. About a 1000 protesters later trooped down to the rail tracks and sat there.
They have said that they will not budge till their demand for reservation in the state is met. The Rajasthan government says it cannot make any promises, with the matter in court.
“We are always open to discussion but this issue is now in court,” said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
Gujjars have been demanding reservation since 2007. They were given 5 per cent reservation in a separate quota, but as that exceeded the 50 per cent quota mandated by the Supreme Court, the matter is now caught in a legal tangle and is being heard in the Rajasthan High Court.
In the past, the Gujjars have launched two violent agitations blocking railway tracks and roads in Rajasthan, throwing law and order out of gear.