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Gujjar protest in Rajasthan hits rail traffic

December 21, 2010 - Jaipur

Movement of trains between Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan's Bharatpur was disrupted on Tuesday by Gujjars who have been asking for five per cent reservation in government jobs.

A section of Gujjars, led by Kirori Singh Bainsla, last night revived the agitation for five per cent quota in government jobs and educational institutes in Dausa.

They blocked the Delhi-Mumbai rail route in Bharatpur. As a result 25 trains on the Kota-Mathura line had to be diverted.

The worst affected were the services on the Delhi-Mumbai trunk route.

The Western Railway (WR) has diverted several trains: Bandra-Jammu Tawi, Mumbai Central Ferozpur, Ahmedabad-Patna, Bandra-Amritsar and Golden Temple Mail.

"I have directed my people to begin agitation across the State and will call it off only after the state government fulfils our demands of five per cent reservation, withdrawal of the cases against Gujjar agitators and their release from jail," Bainsla told reporters.

"The government has been dilly-dallying over the issue for too long. Now Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has even announced that they will go ahead with recruitment before the quota issue for Gurjjars is settled," Bainsla added.

The agitation which began in 2007 has claimed over 70 lives so far.

A year ago, Gujjars in Rajasthan fought police and members of another caste that already qualified for job reservations.

After the protests, the State government said it would spend Rs 2.8 billion on improving schools, clinics, roads and other infrastructure in Gujjar areas. But Gujjars rejected this option.


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