Gujjar activists led by former MLA Atar Singh Bhadana, who launched a ‘long march’ to the Rajasthan capital from several towns earlier this week seeking reservation, deferred their agitation for 10 days following talks with State government representatives.
A delegation of Gujjars met Energy Minister Jitendra Singh here on Thursday and discussed its demand for five per cent reservation in jobs and education under the Special Backward Class category.
Though the government had awarded five per cent reservation to Gujjars and four other communities, the Rajasthan High Court had stayed it, as the total reservation of 54 per cent exceeded the permissible limit of 50 per cent.
Mr. Bhadana said on Friday that Mr. Singh promised to come up with a “positive step” on reservation and sought 10 days from the Gujjar leaders to sort out the issue. “If the [State] government fails to resolve the issue in 10 days, we will restart our march,” he said.Mr. Bhadana said a large number of Gujjars had gathered at Lekher village near Shahpura on the Delhi-Jaipur national highway, but the community leaders did not block the road or create a law and order problem. The march had been stopped for the time being, he added.
Gujjars’ agitation in the past seeking Scheduled Tribe status for reservation had led to violent confrontation with the government, resulting in the death of over 70 persons in police firing.The faction headed by Mr. Bhadana had earlier given the call to march to Jaipur and stage a “mahapadaav” (sit-in) to force the ruling Congress to find a way out for providing quota legally. Gujjars had sneaked into the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra of BJP State president Vasundhara Raje at Bayana in Bharatpur district earlier this month and raised slogans and waved black flags to register their protest. The police firing on Gujjars had taken place during Ms. Raje’s tenure as Chief Minister.