Barely a week after the Ashok Gehlot government convinced Gujjars to call off their reservation protest, the Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur held their first of eight mahapanchayats in Bharatpur on Wednesday, seeking inclusion in Central OBC list, among other demands.
On November 12, Gujjar leaders led by Kirori Singh Bainsla called off their protest, where they had demanded clearing of backlog in vacancies, following a meeting with cabinet sub-committee as also a meeting with CM Gehlot. Noting how the Gehlot government had ‘listened’ to Gujjars after the latter occupied railway tracks on the Delhi-Mumbai line for 11 days, the Jats announced their own agitation.
Jat leader Nem Singh Faujdar called eight mahapanchayats in Bharatpur, beginning with the first in Pathena village Wednesday, where a few hundred people from Rajasthan, Haryana Punjab and National Capital Region (NCR) had gathered. Amid chants of “Maharaja Surajmal! Amar Rahein!” Faujdar pointed out that “the fight is not of one person, but of promising youths in two districts, and the stage belongs neither to BJP or Congress, but to the Jats.”
The Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur districts were excluded from the Central OBC list following a Supreme Court order in March 2015, and then from the state OBC list following a High Court judgment in August that year. However, in 2017, the Vasundhara Raje-led government again extended reservation to Jats of these two districts within the state OBC category.
Talking to The Indian Express, Faujdar said, “Our main demand is that Jats of 31 out of 33 Rajasthan districts have benefit of reservation in Central list. And within the state, Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur were given reservation in August 2017, following a report by the OBC Commission. Now that we are receiving benefit of reservation in the state, the state should write to Centre for including us.”
“Second, about 94 of our selected candidates – between 2013 and 2017 – should be given appointments, as per the High Court order. Third, all the 106 cases, lodged against thousands of persons between 2015-17, should be withdrawn,” Faujdar said.
In his address, Faujdar said that it was the government which has backtracked on an agreement to withdraw police cases. “We want to fight with the government on these issues. It is a matter of future of these students. We are not interested in a protest, it is our compulsion. If the government wants, it can address all three of our demands in a minute,” he said, claiming their previous protests have been organised and did not cause inconvenience to a government official, an ambulance, or anyone else.
Quoting another community leader, he said, “Within democracy, mobocracy holds power. Jahan bheerh hai, wahan bal hai, aur jahan bal hai, wahan har samasya ka danke ki chot par hal hai. (Wherever there’s crowd, there’s power, and where there’s power, there is a solution to every problem). The courts and cases come later.”
“We want to ask why the government is behaving this way with us. What wrong have we done? All the laws are implemented and imposed on the weak,” he said.
He acknowledged that the Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur received reservation once again in the state during Vasundhara Raje’s tenure as CM, but that the state did not send a recommendation to the Centre seeking their inclusion in the central list.
He said that Jats will “not commit arson or damage property” but “will block roads and railways” if the government doesn’t listen to their demands. Faujar told The Indian Express that their remaining seven mahapanchayats will be organised “within the next 20 days”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines