Gujjars to continue courting arrest


Jaipur : Gujjars in Rajasthan have decided to continue courting arrest till Oct 5 in support of their demand for classifying them as a scheduled tribe.

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“Every day till Oct 5 Gujjars in different parts of the state would court arrest and if the Rajasthan government fails to send a letter recommending the community as tribals then the agitation would be made national from Oct 6,” said Roop Singh, a Gujjar leader.

He added that the Gujjars have decided to hold a Shanti Path (prayer for peace) in jails Wednesday.

“Our agitation was non-violent and it shows that Gujjars are a non-violent community. We would continue or fight till our demand is met,” Singh said.

“We are ready for talks but so far we have not received any invitation from the government on the issue,” said Col. (retd.) K.L. Bainsla, head of the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti, which is heading the agitation.

“If the government does not accept our demands by Oct 11, another 200,000 women will start filling up the jails in the state,” said Prahlad Gunjal, another community leader.

As per the government’s estimates, over 62,000 Gujjars courted arrest in different parts of the state Tuesday. The maximum number was in Jaipur where Gujjars under the leadership of Congress legislator Sachin Pilot courted arrest.

“We have made proper arrangements for these Gujjar protestors. Food and other amenities would be provided to them in makeshift prisons,” Rajasthan’s Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.

Meanwhile, with Gujjars deciding to stop the distribution of milk, its shortage has begun to be felt in the state. As per government sources, there was a drop of about 70,000 litres in the collection of milk Tuesday.

“The average collection of milk per day in Rajasthan by our Saras dairy is about 1.3 million litres. However, it dropped by 60,000-70,000 litres on Tuesday,” said Prabhulal Saini, Rajasthan’s dairy minister.

Gujjars, presently categorised as other backward classes (OBC), held agitations all over Rajasthan from May 29 to June 4 demanding their inclusion in the scheduled tribe category that would give them better employment and educational opportunities. Normal life was paralysed and at least 26 people were killed in the violence during that last phase of the agitations.