Gujjar Quota protest: Talks fail, rail blockade continues

Jaipur, Feb 9: The stalemate between the Rajasthan government and the agitating Gujjars continued for the second day on Saturday as the Gujjar leader Kirodi Singh Bainsla, spearheading the stir, said talks would only be held on the tracks in the open.

Bainsla rejected the government invite for talks in Jaipur, thus blocking the Delhi-Mumbai railway route . Agitators blocked railway tracks at Malarna Doongar near Sawai Madhopur; 23 trains were canceled today while 20 were diverted.

The Gujjars are demanding 5 per cent reservation in jobs and education institutes in the state.

The state government has deputed Tourism Minister Vishwendra Singh and IAS officer Neeraj K. Pawan to hold talks with the Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti.

However, the talks could not materialize and the Gujjars decided to continue their stir. Many trains were diverted or cancelled for the second day.

The protesting Gujjars continue to block Malarna Dungar railway tracks on Delhi-Mumbai route.

More than 24 hours after the agitation began, Singh along with Pawan visited the agitation spot to talk with the Gujjars.

Singh conveyed the message of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, inviting them to Jaipur for discussions.

The Minister said the talks needed pointwise deliberation.

Speaking to Col. Kirori Singh Bainsla, the Gujjar leader, Singh said railway tracks cannot be the place to hold such talks.

However, Bainsla reportedly rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday accused the Congress-led Gehlot government of ignoring crucial warnings given by the Gujjar leaders.

“In their election manifesto, Congress had promised reservation for Gujjars,” said BJP leader and former Rajasthan Minister Arun Chaturvedi.

“The Congress government has neither given a complete loan waiver to farmers as promised nor has it provided unemployment allowance. They have also failed to deliver on their promise of Gujjar reservation,” he said.

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