Leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Gujjar Sangharsh Samiti, spearheading a campaign for reservation for the community, on Sunday charged the Congress-led government in Rajasthan with “deliberately not clarifying” its stand vis-à-vis the demand even five months after an accord was signed following the latest round of protest in December.
The Sangharsh Samiti organised a “Shraddhanjali Sabha” (tribute ceremony) at Kotputli, 80 km from here, to pay homage to the Gujjars killed in police firing during the first round of agitation in 2007 when they had demanded inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe category. Gujjars presently get the quota benefit as an Other Backward Class.
Sangharsh Samiti president Sukhbir Singh Jaunpuria, addressing the huge gathering at a memorial put up at Kalyanpura near the town, said the State Government owed an answer to the people on the “important and sensitive” issue of Gujjar reservation, as there was no progress despite a promise made to the community that it would be resolved within six months.
“The State Government is deliberately not making a [direct] contact with the community leaders, even though it is clear that a negligible quota given in the special backward category is not serving any purpose,” said Mr. Jaunpuria, while demanding that the official stand on the quota demand be made clear.
He said the Gujjar community was willing to enter into a dialogue once again with the State Government to offer its suggestions for increasing employment opportunities, opening more educational and technical institutions, improving the standard of education and evolving strategies for speedy development of the State.
Gujjar leaders and activists from Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir, attending the ceremony that marked the fourth death anniversary of those killed in the agitation, took part in the rites and witnessed cultural programmes. The families of the victims of police firing were also honoured on the occasion.
Leaders of the largely pastoral community deliberated on the strategy for intensifying their agitation with the support of other sections of society, which they said were sympathetic to their cause. “When a family loses a member, all people irrespective of caste or community condole the death. All of us are here to [pay homage to] Gujjar martyrs,” said Mr. Jaunpuria.
Among others, former Delhi MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, BJP MLA from Kotputli Ram Swaroop Kasana, former Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board chairman Yashvir Singh, former Rajasthan Minister Kalulal Gujjar and leaders such as Qamar Rabbani Chechi, Shanta Ram Mahajan, Narendra Bhati and Virendra Singh attended the ceremony.