Gujjars agree to postmortem of bodies

June 1st, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

Jaipur, June 1 (IANS) In a softening of stance, the agitating Gujjar community Sunday agreed to hold a post mortem examination of those killed in the 10 days of violence. “As per the Gujjar demands, we are sending a team of doctors to Bayana and Sikandra to conduct post mortem on the bodies,” a senior official of the state home department told IANS. “They have asked for two Gujjar doctors to be present when the autopsy is conducted. The government has agreed to it.”

“As per our information, 12 bodies are with the Gujjars in Bayana and another six with them in Sikandra,” he said.

The Gujjars had kept the bodies of their community members killed since May 23 when their agitation began, refusing to allow post mortem or cremation of the corpses.

Meanwhile, the deadlock between the Gujjars, who are demanding inclusion in the Scheduled Caste category, and the Vasundhara Raje government continued for the 10th day Sunday.

“Talks on the official level have not yet been initiated. Some religious leaders are trying to find an amicable solution to the crisis and are in touch with us. Even the Bharatpur MP Vishwendra Singh is slated to come here to hold talks on a personal level,” Rambhan, a Gujjar said.

Vishwendra Singh, scion of the Bharatpur royal family, has earlier been helpful in sorting out the differences between Gujjars and the Raje government.

“We want the state government to send a letter to the union government recommending that we be included as tribals. Talks of any kind can only be held after that,” K.S. Bainsla, head of the Gujjar Sangharsh Aarakshan Samiti (Gujjar pro-reservation front), said.

Meanwhile, the road and rail blockade agitation by the ethnic Gujjars continued to affect train and highways in the state.

Tension continued to prevail in parts of Rajasthan, which witnessed violent protests by Gujjars demanding tribal status for better educational and job opportunities. At least 39 people, including a policeman, have been killed in the 10 days of violent agitation.

“So far things are peaceful in the state. We do not have any information of any violence so far in the state,” V.S. Singh, home secretary, told IANS here Sunday.

Bainsla and hundreds of his supporters are squatting on the rail tracks near Dhumaria station, close to Bayana town in Bharatpur district, 160 km east of state capital Jaipur.

In adjoining Sikandra in Dausa district too, over 300 Gujjars have blocked national highway connecting Jaipur-Agra. They had kept the bodies of community members killed in the agitation along with them for the past 10 days, placing huge slabs of ice to keep them from decaying in the intense heat.

The army and paramilitary forces are patrolling Bharatpur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, and Karauli districts to control violence in some places.

The Gujjars, who belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), are an ethnic group who rear livestock and earn a living by selling milk and other dairy products. They are demanding that the community be included in the Scheduled Tribes list so that they get better education and job opportunities.

They had held protests all over Rajasthan from May 29 to June 4 last year, demanding Scheduled Tribes status. At least 26 people were killed in the violence then.

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