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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 31, 2007
Gujjars call for a shutdown in Rajasthan
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Gujjars call for a shutdown in Rajasthan

Gujjar community leaders on Thursday called for a shutdown in several parts of Rajasthan over a demand for reservation in government jobs and colleges.

Jaipur, May 31 : Gujjar community leaders on Thursday called for a shutdown in several parts of Rajasthan over a demand for reservation in government jobs and colleges.

State and Central police forces have been deployed in Jaipur and other cities and towns to prevent untoward incident during the shutdown.

"The shutdown is totally peaceful. There is no news of any kind of violence from anywhere. Police is deployed everywhere. We will not allow any type of damage to life and property," said Vishal Bansal, Superintendent of Police, South Jaipur.

Nearly 600 Rajasthan Armed Constabulary personnel have been deployed on the Jaipur-Agra Highway. The army has also been called in.

Normal life was totally disrupted in Jaipur. All markets in the city are closed and the public transport system is off the roads.

"I have closed my shop because I am scared of the protestors. I don't support them but I have kept my shop closed because everyone else has done so," said Bhagirath, a shopkeeper.

The protestors have also blocked rail routes and highways, leaving hundreds of vehicles and their owners stranded.

"Of course, we are facing a lot of problems. Normal life is disturbed. People cannot even take anyone to hospital because of the shutdown," said Sanwaria Chand, a resident.

Following the disturbances in the state, trains from Northern Railway, from North Western Railway and from Western Railway have been cancelled or rescheduled.

According to reports, no trains will ply the Western Railway route at Nagda and on the North Central Railway route at Mathura Junction upto 4.00 p.m.

On Wednesday, talks between the Government of Rajasthan and the Gujjar community over the granting of Scheduled Tribe status broke down with the former demanding at least a fortnight to deliver a decision on the matter.

The Gujjar leadership, however, said that withdrawing their agitation was not a possibility till their demand was met.

The protests began on Tuesday in support of the Gujjar community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status as promised by the BJP. The agitation has also got politicised with Chief Minister Raje saying she did not make any such promise and that decision could only be taken by the Centre.

Raje termed the clashes as 'unfortunate', but did not announce compensation for the victims. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress have traded charges and counter-charges over the incident.

The community currently comes under the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

The issue of job and education quotas for lower castes and tribal people has often sparked controversy and protests in India.


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