The Gujjars will hold a mahapanchayat at Pilupura in Bharatpur district on May 23 to take a final decision on launching an agitation over their demand for 5% reservation. The announcement came after a three-hour-long meeting of the community leaders at Adda village in Bharatpur district on Tuesday.
Talking to reporters, Gujjar leader Col Kirori Singh Bainsla said that the Gujjar community members will gather in Pilupura to pay tribute to the martyrs killed during the previous agitation in 2008.
“I urge the people of my community to assemble in large numbers in Pilupura for a direct fight for quota,” he said. Adding, “I am not happy with the talks held with the government. I want them to carve out 5% reservation out of OBC quota. I am also trying to protect the members of my community and don’t want a repeat of the incidents that took place in 2008.”
More than 72 people have been killed since 2007 when the Gujjars, who form 7% of the state’s population, launched an agitation demanding 5% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
Meanwhile, security has been tightened in Bharatpur. Five companies of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC) and three companies of Railway Protection Force (RPF) have been deployed in Bayana.
“Adequate security arrangements have been made, and we will ensure that similar security arrangements are in place on May 23 too,” Bharatpur SP Anil Kumar Tank said.
“Section 144 has been imposed in Bharatpur district till May 31 and additional police force sought in view of the mahapanchayat in Bayana,” Bharatpur divisional commissioner Subir Singh said.
Talks between the government and a 15-member delegation of Gujjars held in Jaipur on Monday failed to achieve a breakthrough.
The Gujjars are demanding a separate 5% reservation within the 21% OBC quota. Himmat Singh, spokesperson of the Gujjar Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti, expressed his disappointment and said they have not made much progress during the talks.
In Rajasthan, the total reservation is 49% in three categories—OBC (21%), SC (16%) and ST (12%).
Meanwhile, another group of Gujjars, led by Akhil Bhartiya Gurjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, has announced a panchayat in Moroli village against the mahapanchayat called by Bainsla.
Bidhuri, a former MLA from Badarpur in Delhi, said the Moroli panchayat will decide on launching a non-violent agitation to demand reservation. Earlier, community members from 80 villages had announced to boycott the agitation call given by Bainsla.
The Rajasthan Assembly had in October last year passed a bill to raise OBC reservation from 21 to 26 per cent to provide five per cent quota to Gujjars and other castes. However, the high court stayed the bill as it would have increased the reservation to 54 per cent. Later, the Supreme Court also directed the state government not to exceed the 50 per cent reservation limit.