Gurjars on street today
It seems simmering summers activate Gurjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla. He has been mobilising fellow Gurjars for the last three years, demanding quota for his community in government jobs.
Perhaps, summers are opportune time for Mr Bainsla for this agitation as Gurjars get free from their post-harvesting activities during this period. They can then participate in large numbers till the monsoon sets in.
This year also, the red-turbaned colonel is in action. The demand is old, but the style is too familiar. He is holding a siege at Gurjar-dominated Gazipur village near Mahuwa, gearing up for the Jaipur march on Friday.
Rejecting the state government’s proposal for a dialogue, Mr Bainsla said the “non-violent” agitation will take off only when the state government agrees to offer 5% quota in government jobs immediately. The state government had already granted 5% reservation to Gurjars and three other communities through an Act. After which, the high court had ordered a stay on the implementation of the Act, stating that the reservation granted by the government to Gurjara and EBCs is not in consonance with the settled legal provisions, and hence the excess reservation is stayed.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan high court on Thursday has directed the state government to ban unlawful assembly at sensitive places to check any danger to public property, railway tracks and roads. It has also asked the state government about the provisions it (government) is making to maintain the law and order situation.
The high court also directed the agitating Gurjar leaders to ensure that the statewide stir proposed by them from Friday remains peaceful and that there is no damage to public property.
On the other hand, Mr Bainsla told ET that Gurjars will march towards Jaipur from all directions. “Gurjars belonging to Alwar will march from Delhi route while those hailing from Bharatpur, Karauli, Dausa and Dholpur will march from Agra-Jaipur national highway. The agitation will be peaceful and non-violent. We will not tolerate injustice to our community. If the government has intentions, it should grant it now. We will wait for government’s decision till Friday evening,” Mr Bainsla added.
Speaking on the issue, Rajasthan energy minister Jitendra Singh, a Gurjar himself, said the matter is sub-judice. “After the reservation Act was struck down by a single bench, the government had gone in appeal and a division bench of the high court is hearing the case. The date of hearing was March 22. However, the case could not come up for hearing as the chief justice, who is also part of the bench, was out of the city. The court will give the next date. The government is doing its level best to expedite the matter,” Mr Singh said.
In the wake the Gurjar threat, the Rajasthan government has sealed entire Jaipur border and has called on para-military forces to avert any untoward incident. Taking lessons from previous agitations, the state administration is taking no chances. The last two agitations had claimed 70 lives, leaving behind several injured in police firing.