Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday urged protestors from the Gujjar community to participate in a dialogue with the government instead of holding demonstrations, ANI reported. Members of the Gujjar community have been asking the state government to implement the 5% reservation it had promised them and four other groups – Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara and Gadaria – in 2017.
At present, the community has 1% reservation in education and government jobs. The Congress government in the state has appointed a panel of three cabinet ministers to negotiate with the protestors.
The chief minister cited trains that have been cancelled or diverted because of the protests. “Who is at a loss?” Gehlot asked. “It is the country which is at a loss. What is the point of staging a protest? I would like to make an appeal. Start a dialogue with the government. I can assure you we will do whatever we can.”
Meanwhile, state minister Bhanwar Lal urged the protestors to refrain from violence, ANI reported. “I would like to appeal to the Gujjar community to pressurise the prime minister to give them 5% reservation, the way the Centre granted 10% reservation to the general category,” Lal said. “Our government is 45 days old, we are not saying no. If they will block roads then govt will also do its work.”
On Sunday, the protests turned violent in Dholpur district as agitators set ablaze three police vehicles and fired shots in the air. Gujjar leader Kirori Bainsla had said last week that the protests would remain peaceful and asked the state government to fulfil its promise. Last month, Bainsla had given the state 20 days to clarify its stand on the matter.