Police vehicles torched, trains disrupted, highways blocked as Gujjar quota agitation enters 3rd day
Gujjar quota stir turns violent, police vehicles torched in Dholpur district, 18 trains cancelled on Sunday in Kota division
Rajasthan Minister Bhanwar Lal on Monday urged the protesting Gujjar community, demanding five per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes, to not to resort to violence and protest peacefully.
The protest launched by the Gujjar Community entered its fourth day today.
Lal stated, "Would like to appeal to Gujjar community that please do not resort to violence, protest peacefully. I would also like to appeal to Bainsla Ji to send his team for dialogue, and we will discuss as to how their demands can be met within limits of Constitution."
He also urged the protesters to pressurise the Centre to give the reservation. "Would like to appeal to the Gujjar community that they pressurise the PM to give five per cent reservation, the way they gave 10 per cent reservation to General Category. Our government is 45 days old, we're not saying no. If they will block roads then the government will also do its work," he said.
Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, on Monday, said: "We will leave only after getting 5 per cent reservation. It's my personal request to the government, don't do anything which can provoke people of Rajasthan, people are waiting for my instructions. Let's sort it out in a peaceful manner. The earlier the better."
On Sunday, the protesters turned violent as three police vehicles were torched in Dholpur district and around 10 shots were also fired.
As per the railway authorities, as many as 18 trains were cancelled in Kota division of Central-West Railway on Sunday. However, between February 11 and 13, the railway authorities have already announced to cancel the movement of 37 trains, scheduled to pass through Kota division, in view of the ongoing quota stir.
According to police, unidentified miscreants fired around 10 shots in the air during the blockade on Agra-Morena highway. Three police vehicles including two jeeps and a bus were torched by the agitators, said the police, which had to use tear gas shells to disperse them.
Since the people of the Gujjar community have squatted on rail tracks for the last three days, the movement of trains has adversely been affected. Ten trains plying on February 11 in Kota division areas have been cancelled while 12 trains scheduled for plying on February 12 also stand cancelled. Also, 15 trains scheduled for plying on February 13 have been cancelled well in advance.
Also, several trains have been diverted. As per the railway authorities, 13 trains commencing on February 10 were diverted while five trains commencing on February 11 have been diverted in Kota division.
The movement of vehicles on the National Highway-8 was also affected on Sunday at Ajmer as protestors blocked the National Highway-8 (NH-8) in support of the ongoing reservation stir.In an appeal to Gujjar community, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has asked them not to sit on the rail tracks and has urged them to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Saturday, agitators erected tents on railway tracks Sawai Madhopur district.
Last year on October 26, the BJP government led by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had passed a Bill, which increased Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota from 21 per cent to 26 per cent. In December 2018, the state government had also approved one per cent reservation for Gujjar and four other OBCs as per the Supreme Court-imposed 50 per cent quota ceiling.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)