Gujjar stir enters 5th day, talks stalled over venue

PrintJaipur: Gujjar protesters blocked Delhi- Mumbai rail route and a key national highway for the fifth day today after negotiations with the government over their demand of five per cent quota were stalled due to disagreement over the meeting venue.

The Rajasthan government had asked the community members to hold the second round of talks in Jaipur.

However, the leaders insisted on holding the meeting in the epicentre of the agitation at Bayana town in Bharatpur, which is nearly 15 kms away from Pilukapura where the protesters have been squatting on the railway tracks.

“We will not go to Jaipur for the talks. We will hold talks in Bayana only. I have given a letter to the government for this,” the Gujjar leader, Kirori Singh Bainsla told PTI.

The agitation, which was started on Thursday last week, would be called off only when the government fulfils the demand, he said.

Rajashthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said that there is "no point blocking rail tracks, we're ready to talk"
Rajashthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said that there is “no point blocking rail tracks, we’re ready to talk”

As a result of the failed talks, Delhi-Mumbai rail tracks in Bharatpur along with National Highway 11 at Dausa and a state highway in Sawaimadhopur district continued to remain blocked causing inconvenience to the travellers.

Many trains were cancelled and diverted, while several highways remained closed. The Agra-Jaipur highway in Dausa was vacated by the agitators today but traffic has not been resumed, police said.

District collector Ravi Jain said that the Gujjars were being convinced to accept the government’s proposal to go to Jaipur.

“Jaipur is the right place to hold talks in detail and we are trying to persuade the Gujjars,” he said.

Several Gujjar leaders, including Bainsla, Himmat Singh and other associates, were booked for rioting, damaging public property, endangering life, obstructing public way and criminal conspiracies.

The first round of talks took place on Saturday between the Gujjar leader Bainsla and a committee comprising Health minister Rajendra Rathore, Social Justice minister Arun Chaturvedi and Food minister Hem Singh Bhadana, but the meeting ended in deadlock on Saturday.

The members of Gujjar community are demanding five per cent reservation within legal limit of 50 per cent for government jobs.