Gujjars call of 8-day-old agitation as Rajasthan agrees to quota

Jaipur: Gujjars tonight called off their 8-day long agitation that had paralysed train services after the Rajasthan government assured them of bringing a fresh bill to accord them five per cent job reservation.

The agitating Gujjars were also assured by the state government that a recommendation will be made to the Centre to get the legislation listed in the ninth Schedule of the Constitution. The government and Gujjar leaders reached a consensus on eight points after five rounds of talks and signed an agreement at their final meeting tonight.

The meeting was attended by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla and his delegation at the secretariat after which the announcement to call off the agitation was announced at a joint press conference. "We will introduce a fresh bill to grant five per cent reservation in the next assembly session and this will be forwarded to the Centre to get it listed in the ninth schedule of the Constitution," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore said.

A committee will also be formed to decide on the modalities of the bill, he said. Bainsla thanked the Government and said that their demands have been met and expressed the hope that the agreement will be executed in letter and spirit. Announcing that their agitation is called off, Bainsla said he will ask his people to clear the railway tracks and highway where they have been squatting disrupting rail and road traffic.

The breakthrough came after a fresh round of talks began this evening between the Gujjar delegation led by Bainsla and a committee of three Rajasthan ministers. The agitators had blocked rail tracks and roads in three districts for over a week to press for five per cent quota in government jobs.

Members of the community blockaded the railway tracks in Pilukapura in Bharatpur as also the National Highway 11 at Sikandara in Dausa along with a state highway in Sawaimadhopur. Earlier today, the Centre said it was sending 4,500 paramilitary personnel to Rajasthan to assist the state government in handling the agitation that has hit traffic on the Delhi-Mumbai rail route and Jaipur-Agra national highway.

Rajasthan High Court had yesterday directed the officials to restore traffic on Jaipur-Agra national highway and summoned the DGP and Chief Secretary today to explain what action was taken by the administration to clear the tracks and the highways.

Rajasthan government had yesterday invited the Gujjars for another round of talks with the assurance of a fresh formula to resolve the impasse after it told them that it would not be possible to accord five per cent quota in jobs within the legal limit of 50 per cent. It had said that a new classification within the limit would have adverse consequences for social harmony. However, the government suggested that there was scope for 5 per cent reservation, legally, beyond the 50 per cent limit.

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