Colonel (retd) K.S. Bainsla, leader of Rajasthan’s agitating Gujjar community, will Tuesday hold talks with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, even as the community’s stir for five percent reservation in government jobs entered its 16th day, disrupting some train services.
Bainsla left Piloo Ka Pura near Bayana in Bharatpur district and is expected in Jaipur by late afternoon for the talks, after holding discussions with the 51-member Gujjar delegation that has been here for the last two days, said Roop Singh, spokesperson of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti that is spearheading the agitation since Dec 20.
Roop Singh said that Bainsla decided to come to Jaipur after getting some ‘positive’ feedback from the delegation that has been holding talks with a three-member ministerial panel.
Talks between the Gujjar delegation and the Rajasthan government broke down Monday with the community leaders blaming the government for not accepting three major demands.
‘They did not accept our demand to stop the government recruitment process till an amicable solution is found to our reservation issue. The government failed to say how and by when five percent reservation would be provided to us,’ Himmat Singh, a delegation member, had told reporters after the meeting.
‘They (the government) also did not give us any assurance on withdrawing the cases against the protesters,’ Himmat Singh said.
The state government, however, said the talks were fruitful.
Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal, one of the trio negotiating with the Gujjars, said: ‘These talks have helped us to move forward towards an amicable solution.’
‘We reached an agreement on nine of their 12 demands. Tomorrow (Tuesday) also we may have talks. We will talk to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Bainsla and try to reach an understanding on these remaining three issues,’ said Dhariwal.
Talks between the agitating Gujjar community and the Rajasthan government resumed Monday after the first round Sunday remained inconclusive.
Besides Dhariwal, the committee comprises Energy Minister Jitendra Singh and Transport Minister B.K. Sharma.
As efforts to break the impasse continued, the Gujjars sustained their protests Tuesday morning by squatting on the rail tracks near Bayana in Bharatpur district and blocking train services. There were long delays in services between Delhi and Mumbai.
The rail blockade began Dec 20 after a ‘mahapanchayat’ (community conclave) in Bayana.
On Saturday, after a meeting attended by union Minister of State of Communications Sachin Pilot, Jitendra Singh and other leaders, the government requested Bainsla to send a delegation for talks.
Pilot said the Gehlot government was committed to providing reservation to the Gujjars, but a high court ruling on the issue also needed to be considered.
The Rajasthan government in 2009 announced five percent reservation for Gujjars and 14 percent for the economically backward classes, taking the total reservations in the state for various sections of society to 68 percent, more than the 50 percent cap set by Supreme Court.
In a ruling Dec 22, 2010, the high court struck down the job quota for Gujjars.
The Gujjars had staged violent protests between 2006 and 2008 as well in which many lives were lost.