New Delhi: On Wednesday afternoon, a clash between protesters and police exploded in Sikar district of Rajasthan amid the ongoing reservation stir by members of Gujjar community for five per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutes. Meanwhile, at least 44 trains have been cancelled and 14 were diverted till Friday. Due to quota stir, airline fares on the Delhi-Jaipur route have also soared. On Tuesday, “Status of trains in the light of Gujjar protest in Rajasthan: 26 trains of Western Railway, commencing on 12 Feb cancelled & 12 diverted. 31 trains, commencing on 13 Feb cancelled & 10 diverted. 11 trains, commencing on 14 Feb cancelled & 4 diverted. 2 trains, on 15 Feb, cancelled.”
Gujjar community is on protest for the last five days. They have been squatting on the tracks since February 8 seeking five per cent reservation. Consequently, hundreds of trains on the Delhi-Mumbai route have been affected. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had asked the protesters to shun violence and voice their demands to the Centre. It is to be noted here that the Gujjar community had been demanding a 5 per cent quota. Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (GASS) leader Kirori Singh Bainsla had said, “We want a 5 per cent reservation. The government hasn’t responded to my request. So, I am going to do an agitation. The government should give… I don’t know where they give from.” He also demanded reservation for four other castes _ Gujjar, Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara and Gadaria _ in government jobs and educational institutions.
Last month, Bainsla had given 20-day ultimatum which ended on Friday. The leader started to protest after holding maha panchayat. On October 26, 2018, the Rajasthan government passed a bill which increased other backward classes from 21 per cent to 26 per cent.
It must be noted that Gujjars in Rajasthan already have 1 per cent reservation in the most backward category but are demanding 5 per cent quota under the legal limit of 50 per cent reservation. Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who is a Gujjar himself, said there won’t be any further injustice to the community.