Gujjars, Rajasthan government close to solution

June 17th, 2008 - 7:58 am ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, June 16 (IANS) The Gujjars, seeking Scheduled Tribe status, and the Rajasthan government Monday moved closer to a solution as community leader Colonel (retd.) K.S. Bainsla joined the talks and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is expected to participate in “the final round” of parleys Tuesday. A Gujjar delegation of 31 leaders and a state government team of nine members held the fourth round of talks here.

“A final round of talks would be held here tomorrow in which Raje is expected to participate,” said Ramadas Aggarwal, a senior functionary of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who has been leading the government delegation.

“Today’s talks were positive and progress has been achieved,” he told reporters.

Bainsla, who was also present at the press briefing, said: “I am fully satisfied with the talks.”

However, both remained tight-lipped about the solution being worked out.

When asked about the possible outcome, Bainsla said: “Wait till tomorrow.”

The Gujjars are classified among the other backward classes (OBCs) in Rajasthan but they want Scheduled Tribe status that would give them a bigger share of the jobs and education quota pie. They have been agitating since May 23.

A government source said the Gujjars were likely to be offered the nomadic community status along with a special quota for reservation in education and government jobs.

Meanwhile, Bainsla’s supporters continued their agitation at Bayana in Bharatpur district, 160 km from here, laying siege at the railway track linking Mumbai with Delhi. Army and paramilitary deployment also continued there to check against any untoward incident.

As many as 39 people were killed when the agitation turned violent last month.

Last year, Gujjars held protests all over Rajasthan from May 29 to June 4 to press the same demand. At least 26 people were killed in the violence then.

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