Gujjars give ultimatum till Nov. 1 on quota issue

Gujjars demanding reservation in jobs and education as a “most backward class” (MBC) on Saturday gave an ultimatum till November 1 to the Congress government in Rajasthan before resumption of their agitation, unless urgent steps were taken to protect their “rightful share” and quota provisions applied to the ongoing recruitment to 15 services.

Gujjar supremo Kirori Singh Bainsla announced at the community’s ‘Mahapanchayat’ (grand convention) at Adda village near Bayana in Bharatpur district that Gujjars were willing to give some time to the State government, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and sowing season for rabi crops, to act on its promises.

Col. Bainsla indicated that the agitating Gujjars could block traffic on the Delhi-Mumbai railway tracks passing through Bharatpur, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur districts, and on the highways to press for their demands. “We have held several meetings with the government’s representatives, but there was no result… The agitation will begin on November 1,” he said.

Gujjars have been seeking inclusion of a reservation law passed by the State Assembly last year in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, appointments to backlog posts, benefit of 5% reservation in the ongoing recruitments, regularisation of 1,252 employees appointed through the MBC quota, and implementation of Devnarayan Scheme for the community’s progress and welfare.

Internet services remained suspended in parts of Bharatpur district on Saturday in view of the Mahapanchayat, in which about 5,000 people participated. State Labour Secretary Niraj K. Pawan, sent to interact with the Gujjar leaders, said all demands of the community had been fulfilled, though some minor subjects were pending because of technical issues.

Pradesh Congress Committee president Govind Singh Dotasra said the Gujjar leaders should talk to the 25 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs elected from the State to get the reservation law included in the Ninth Schedule, as it fell within the domain of the Centre in order to protect the legislation against judicial scrutiny.

The Assembly had passed the Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Amendment Act, 2019, on February 13 last year. Four other nomadic communities given the quota benefit along with the Gujjars are Banjara, Gadia-Lohar, Raika and Gadariya.

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