Gujjars toughen stance; there will be no compromise, says BainslaMay 26th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by admin
By Sahil Makkar
Bayana (Rajasthan), May 26 (IANS) Toughening their stance on the fourth day of their agitation that has seen 37 people killed so far, Gujjars Monday vowed to continue their protest indefinitely to demand Scheduled Tribe status. Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla challenged Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to come and talk to him face to face. “She (Vasundhara Raje) has to come to Bayana,” Bainsla told IANS. “Why did she not come to Pilupura where so many innocent Gujjars were gunned down by the police and the Rapid Action Force? She could have come to show her solidarity with the family of the deceased.”
“She is a cheat and does not have the guts to show her face to Gujjars. If the government wants the issue to be resolved, then Vasundhara must come to Pilupura and talk to me face to face,” said Bainsla, sitting for the past three days, along with thousands of his community people, on the railway track that connects Delhi-Mumbai.
On Sunday evening, Raje had visited Bayana, half and hour away from Pilupura village in Bharatpur district, and asked Bainsla to come and meet her there. But he refused outright and said that talks would only be held in the village.
Bainsla stated that Gujjars would not settle for less than a recommendation letter from the state government to the central government for Scheduled Tribe status to them.
“Bring the entire force and kill each of us. But we would protest peacefully and not leave the place until the state government accepts our demands. There would be no compromise,” the retired army colonel said.
However, tension is brewing at this epicentre of Gujjar agitation as hundreds of young Gujjar men want to avenge the deaths here and in Sikandra in Dausa district.
At least 12 bodies are lying in coffins under the open sky for the past three days on the railway lines in Pilupura, while in Sikandra more protesters are sitting on the Jaipur-Agra highway with six dead bodies.
“Our patience is on the brink of collapse. We are gradually forced towards choosing weapons. If they - army and police - again open fire on us we will retaliate in the same way,” said a young Gujjar, Ram Prasad
Nanak Ram, who lost his elder son in the police firing, said: “We will not cremate the body until and unless we get a letter from the chief minister.”
Giriraj Chaprana, another youth, said: “If someone attacks your family and kills your loved ones then what would you do? We would do the same - retaliate,” he said.
“We are Indians and they can not treat us like Pakistani and Bangladeshis. Now no Gujjar will suffer police atrocities and all will fight,” said Pappu Gujjar, who had come from Bikaner to join his people in Sikandra.
Captain Harprasad Tigaria, the second in command of Gujjar leaders, said: “Where is the National Human Rights Commission. Doesn’t anyone see that innocent people are being gunned down by the police and putting the blame on our heads.”
He said there are around 7.5 million Gujjars in Rajasthan alone, while nearly 200 million Gujjars are together present in states of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, among others.
“We have asked them to start a protest in their states,” he added.