Gujjar community leaders on Saturday gave an ultimatum to the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan to accede to their demands, including reservation for the community in recruitment, or face large-scale agitation beginning November 1.
The announcement was made at a community mahapanchayat in Bharatpur, called by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla and joined by other leaders from the community, including Himmat Singh, who had broken off from Bainsla and formed his own faction. Stating that the community is united in its demand, Singh said, “We want the government to keep its promises made to us between 2011 and 2019.”
“Depending upon the crop, it is harvesting season somewhere and planting season elsewhere. So it was decided to call a mahapanchayat again on November 1. If, in the interim, the government gets some time (to fulfill its earlier promises made to the community), then it is lucky, because if they don’t come good on our demands, Rajasthan will be shut,” Bainsla’s son Vijay Bainsla said.
He said the community has demands from both the state and the Centre, and it is “tired” of going to the governments with a set of demands repeatedly. “No more pussyfooting; we will take them on beginning 6 am on November 1,” Vijay Bainsla said.
The community has for long demanded reservation under the Most Backward Classes (MBC) category and 5-per cent reservation in ongoing recruitment for 15 services in the state, rehabilitation of the families of those killed in violence during past agitation seeking reservation, implementation of the Devnarayan scheme, and withdrawing of cases against Gujjars, among others.
While the administration had feared that Saturday’s mahapanchayat might turn into a protest or dharna, Bainsla put off a protest following consultations with other community leaders. Like earlier, the state government had sent IAS officer and Labour Secretary Niraj K Pawan to mediate with the community leaders and reach an amicable solution.
Internet services remained suspended in parts of Bharatpur district on Saturday to prevent in view of the mahapanchayat. Bharatpur Divisional Commissioner Prem Chand Berwal had issued orders on Friday suspending internet services in Bayana, Weir, Bhusawar, and Rupbas sub-divisions of the district for 24 hours, beginning midnight.
District Magistrate Nathmal Didel had issued a notice stating that a meeting of up to 100 people may be held in keeping with coronavirus guidelines after obtaining permission from the district collector. Following violent protests by the community in Dholpur in February 2019, the state government had passed a Bill in the Assembly within days. The Rajasthan Backward Classes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) (Amendment) Act, 2019, extended 5 per cent reservation to five communities in educational institutions and government jobs.
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