JAIPUR: A week after the Gujjar agitation began in Rajasthan, its leader Col Bainsla has issued a fresh ultimatum – that if their reservation related 6 demands are not met, they will impose a statewide blockade (chakka jam) of road and rail services from Monday.
With Diwali just a few days away, this is bound to create huge problems for countless people who need to return to their homes and families for the festival.
While a breakthrough remains elusive, CM Ashok Gehlot has issued a fresh offer claiming that his government is happy to consider all demands but for that Gujjars need to come to the dialogue table.
The large-scale agitation which began in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district on November 1, has seen hundreds of Gujjars sitting on railway tracks near Peeluprua village but the stalemate over their quota demands is yet to be broken.
On Sunday, the 85-year-old Gujjar leader Col. KS Bainsla reached Sikandra town in Dausa district and announced that if their 6-point charter of reservation demands are not met, from November 9, the Gujjars will enforce a total ‘Chakka Jam’ or traffic jam across Rajasthan.
Speaking at a Gujjar gathering, Col. Bainsla remarked, "If the government accepts our six main demands, we will remain peaceful. The government is forcing us to remain on agitation and because of their two-faced policies, 35,000 MBC candidates have not got jobs."
Due to the Gujjar agitation, countless passengers are facing major difficulties.
So far, 70 trains have been diverted and some have been cancelled, passengers are forced to spend long hours in trains and travel extra to reach their destinations. With Col Bainsla and his protesting supporters in an unrelenting mood, all those who plan to travel during the Diwali week to reach home or meet relatives are bound to face serious hurdles.
As the Gujjars refuse to budge, the Gehlot government has made repeated efforts to resolve their issues. Besides deputing Sports Minister Ashok Chandana, who belongs to the community, to the protest venue to pacify the agitators, the government sent a delegation of officials headed by labour secretary Niraj K. Pawan.
However, so far all efforts and talks with the Gujjars have remained fruitless.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot renewed the offer of talks with the Gujjar Arakshan Sangaharsh Samiti and its leader Col Bainsla.
Claiming that Congress governments in Rajasthan have always responded positively to Gujjar demands in the past, Gehlot asserted that all demands of the community have already been accepted by his government. Gehlot remarked, “Sitting on railway tracks is not in the interest of the Gujjar community. My government is keen to ensure justice for the Gujjars and they should remember that it were Congress governments which gave them first 1 per cent and later 5 per cent reservations in jobs. It is through our efforts that thousands of Gujjars have secured government jobs. If they still have some demands, we are happy to talk to them and meet all their just demands.”
With Diwali around the corner, as Gujjars continue with their agitation and the deadlock persists, an air of uncertainity and anxiety prevails in Rajasthan.