Paswan favours tribe status for Gujjars

May 27th, 2008 - 8:34 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief and central minister Ram Vilas Paswan Tuesday supported the agitating Gujjar community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status in Rajasthan. “LJP supports the demand of Gujjars. The government should look into their demand sympathetically,” Paswan told reporters after releasing a report card on his chemical and fertilisers ministry’s achievements during the past four years.

“Our party is organising protests and demonstrations in support of Gujjars’ demand. The government should find a solution to the problem,” he said in reply to a question from reporters.

Rajasthan’s Gujjars, most of whom rear livestock and earn a living by selling milk and other dairy products, have been agitating to press their demand that the community be included in the Scheduled Tribes list for better education and job opportunities.

Their protests turned violent in Bharatpur in Rajasthan May 23, and at least 37 people have been killed, as police fired to control mobs.

Between May 29 and June 4 last year, Gujjars who belong to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), protested across the state. In subsequent violence, at least 26 people were killed.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Monday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, suggesting four to six percent separate reservation for Gujjars in government jobs.

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