Gujjars demonstrate in Delhi, National Capital RegionMay 29th, 2008 - 4:08 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, May 29 (ANI): On the seventh day of Gujjars agitation, Ajit Singh-led Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) activists today blocked the Delhi-Jaipur highway at Narshingpur Chowk near Gurgaon.
Around 500 people including some women, led by INLD district president Anantram Tawar, squatted on the NH-8, forcing the traffic to come to a standstill.
The activists raised slogans against Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her government demanding Scheduled Caste status for Gujjars.
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Gupta and Joint Commissioner of Police Manjit Singh Ahlawat have ban monitoring areas leading to Delhi.
The protesters also blocked major road links to Noida and Gurgaon by burning tyres and effigies.
According to reports, protesters stopped passenger trains in Loni area of adjoining Ghaziabad.
Railways cancelled ten trains, including Nizamuddin-Kochi, Maharashtra Sampark Kranti, Nizamuddin-Udaipur and Dehradun-Bandra Express passing through Rajasthan where the situation in the 15 Gujjar agitation affected districts continues to be tense. The State Government has already invoked National Security Act (NSA) in affected districts.
Over 35,000 police personnel, including those from the central paramilitary forces, have been deployed in NCR to avoid any kind of untoward incident.
Security arrangements have been mounted in the NCR including Rewari, Narnaul, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Panipat and Faridabad.
Large contingents of police are keeping a vigil across the Capital, especially in Mehrauli, Ghazipur, Patparganj, Badarpur, Khanpur, Ayanagar, Chilla village and Rampur.
“We are in touch with the police in Noida and Ghaziabad. We are sharing information and taking all steps to ensure safety to the common man,” said Ajay Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East Delhi.
The Union Home Ministry had put the NCR on high alert two days ago following the agitation call and issued advisories to the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh Governments asking them to take all measures for maintaining peace.
Meanwhile, pamphlets containing the appeal made by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje were airdropped by an IAF helicopter at Bayana and Karwadi, hotbeds of the weeklong Gujjar agitation.
Raje in her appeal asked the Gujjars to take up their initiatives with the Centre and “use their wisdom” as her government had made recommendations for their quota to the Central government. She also asked the Gujjars to maintain peace in the State.
The agitators, however, rejected Raje’s appeal. They collected the pink-coloured pamphlets and made a bonfire of them and shouted slogans against the chief minister and the State Government.
Kirori Singh Bhainsla, the Gujjar leader has asked all community members to observe the “martyrs’ day” across the country today.
According to the Centre, Raje’s recommendation for granting reservation to Gujjars by classifying them as nomadic tribe was not legally tenable.
The Gujjars are currently classified as Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and are entitled to quotas in state-run education centers and in government jobs but they want to be listed under the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.
In Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh the Gujjars have been given ST status. But in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat where they are more settled on the land and are involved in agriculture, they have been categorised as OBCs.
In 1999, the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) included the Jat community on its OBC list who form nearly 15 per cent of the State’s population.
Experts say that the BJP introduced reservation for political gains.
The demand by the Gujjars was also fuelled by the success of the Meenas, a large community in the State who were granted ST status in 1954.
In Rajasthan, some members of the Gujjar community resorted to violent protests over the issue of reservation in 2006 and 2007.
During the 2003 election to the Rajasthan assembly, the BJP had promised the Gujjars status as they had included the Jats as the OBC’s but nothing has been done to fulfill the promise.
In September 2006, the Gujjars organized violent protests, after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to keep its promise of including the community in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
In May 2007, during violent protests over the reservation issue, the members of the Gujjar community clashed with the police.
On June 05, 2007 the Gujjars resorted to rioting and demanded that they should be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes who are given preference in government job selection as well as placement in the schools.
In December 2007, the Akhil Bhartiya Gujjar Mahasabha (”All-India Gurjar Council”) stated that the community would boycott the BJP. (ANI)
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Tags: ajit singh, chowk, commissioner of police, dehradun, deputy commissioner, district president, east delhi, effigies, ghazipur, gujjar, gurgaon, inld, kranti, narnaul, national security act, paramilitary forces, passenger trains, rakesh gupta, union home ministry, untoward incident