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Open category women oppose Guj govt's circular review decision

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

A day after the Gujarat government said it will "review and rectify" a circular regarding reservation for women in the Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) recruitment, hundreds of female aspirants from the open category on Wednesday took out a foot march to protest against the decision.

The women marched from Collector Office to Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar, where they also held a sit-in protest on the issue.

As per the circular issued in 2018, women from socio- economic reserved categories cannot compete with female aspirants from the open category for government jobs.

The protesters were among the 3,000-odd women who had appeared for a competitive exam for the posts of LRD (police constable) last year.

They alleged that the government's decision is one- sided and it will harm the meritorious women candidates from the unreserved category.

"We want the government to listen to us before making any changes in the GAD circular issued in August 2018. It appears that the state government has taken this decision out of pressure. This is injustice to the women from general category," a woman protester said.

"We will not back down till the government holds talk with us over the issue. We are now heading towards Raj Bhavan as part of our protest," she added.

The protesting women received support from various caste groups, including Dinesh Bambhaniya of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, Raj Shekhawat of Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena and Lalji Patel of Sardar Patel Group.

"If the government can listen to them (reserved category candidates and leaders), then it must also listen to us. You cannot scrap a notification just like that. We also have a say in that. What we are asking is totally constitutional," Lalji Patel said.

"We have sought Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's time to discuss this issue. Our women are ready to start their fast if we are not taken into confidence before making the changes in the circular," he added.

The BJP government in the state had on Tuesday announced that it will study and rectify any discrepancy that exists in a 2018 circular issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) regarding reservation for women in recruitment in the LRD.

This circular had triggered a protest from female aspirants from reserved categories.

Women from reserved categories have been staging a protest for over two months at Gandhinagar's Satyagrah Chhavni, demanding the circular be scrapped as it prevents them from competing with women candidates from the open category, where the cut-off marks are lower.

They say the circular is against the spirit of reservation.

Since 2014, women have enjoyed 33 per cent quota in Gujarat police jobs. Out of total 9,000 posts, around 3,000 were reserved for women candidates appearing for LRD exam in 2019.

"We have decided to review and rectify it. The BJP government is committed to safeguard reservations provided to SC/ST/OBC communities under the Constitution. Within a few days we will implement the decision," Minister of State for Home, Pradeepsinh Jadeja had said.

The protesters from reserved category have argued that the cut-off marks of women from the open category is much lower than that of reserved category women. This, they said, curtails their chances of qualification for such jobs.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 12 2020. 21:24 IST