Fresh talks between agitating Gujjars and the government on Thursday remained inconclusive with the protesters seeking an assurance from Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot that quantifiable data to justify quota in state jobs will be expeditiously submitted to the Rajasthan High Court.
“The meeting was held in a cordial manner and another round of talks is likely to be held soon. Gujjars are satisfied on several other matters but the 5 per cent reservation issue is yet to be resovled,” G.S.Sandhu, Principal Secretary Urban Development, said after holding the meeting at a village near Pilukapura, the epicentre of the agitation in Rajasthan’s Bayana area.
“Several other matters including withdrawal of cases against the protesters were discussed at the two-and-a-half hour meeting besides the main issue of 5 per cent quota. They are almost satisfied with the government in regard to other demands, but not on the quota issue,” he said.
Mr. Sandhu said that the 11—member Gujjar delegation led by Bhim Singh Khatana demanded that the Chief Minister, state minister Jitendra Singh, Union Ministers C. P. Joshi and Sachin Pilot should visit the agitation site to meet the protesters and assure them that the government will speed up the case in the High Court.
“We are informing the authorities in Jaipur about the demands of the agitators and the next round of meeting is likely to be held soon,” he said. Official sources said another round of talks may be held tomorrow.
The High Court on December 22 had stayed the operation of an Act granting five per cent reservation to Gujjars and directed the state government to undertake a data collection exercise to justify the quota for members of the community.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Mahesh Bhagwati asked the government to complete the quantifiable data collection exercise within a year to justify the quota for Gujjars under the Special Backward Class category.
Besides Mr. Sandhu, the government team at today’s talks at Kaalwari village, around 2 km from Pilukapura, comprised Bharatpur Divisional Commissioner Rajeshwar Singh, Bharatpur District Collector K. Kunal and Pali District Collector Neeraj K. Pawan.
Mr. Sandhu parried a question on who will represent the government in the next round of parleys with the agitators.
Mr. Khatana, leader of the Gujjar delegation, said he will convey the outcome of the talks to his leader Kirori Singh Bainsla.
This was the second round of talks between the two sides.
The first round of talks was held on Sunday at Pilukapura with Energy Minister Jitendra Singh representing the state government.
Gujjars have been blocking Mumbai—Delhi rail tracks and Jaipur—Agra National Highway and several other roads for the past ten days in support of their demand for five per cent reservation in government jobs.