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2008 Gurjar unrest in Rajasthan

Violence erupted in the state of Rajasthan in India on 23 May 2008 when proteste
rs belonging to the Gujjar caste who were demanding a lower scheduled tribe stat
us,instead of their current, higher OBC (Other Backward Class) status, lynched a
policeman in Bharatpur district in Rajasthan. In response, police shot at prote
sters as they tried to damage railway lines and government property. At least 15
were killed on the spot.
On 24 May, the Indian army was called in to help calm the violence as another 15
people were killed when police shot at a mob protesters trying to torch a polic
e station in Sikandra.
Thousands of protesters blocked a rail route between Delhi and Mumbai. Highways
had also been blocked, and state authorities cancelled many buses.
Background
Gujjars a farming and trading tribe are classified by the government as an "Othe
r Backward Class". They are part of the caste system that do not face as much ex
clusion or discrimination in society. The Gujjar community feels it has been eco
nomically and educationally left behind and it wants to be reclassified as a Sch
eduled Tribe. They demand scheduled tribe status so that they can can qualify fo
r government jobs and state college seats reserved solely for such groups. The I
ndian government has put in place an affirmative action plan that sets aside job
and educational quotas for the disadvantaged groups that it classifies as Sched
uled Tribes and Scheduled Castes. These tribes, the government believes, need ex
tra assistance to overcome centuries of neglect.[2]
The state government however has so far declined to change their status. Instead
has announced to spend Rs. 2.82 billion ($ 67 million) for improving schools, c
linics, roads and other infrastructure in Gujjar-dominated areas. However, Gujja
r leaders have said that they "do not want money". Kirori Singh Bhainsla, the he
ad of the main Gujjar protest organisation issued a statement "We do not accept
the economic package."[2]
Even in 2007, Gujjars in Rajasthan had fought police and members of the powerful
Meena tribe that already qualifies for Scheduled Tribe benefits and is opposed
to Gujjars sharing the benefits it has cornered for itself. At least 26 people w
ere killed in that violence. In wake of the ongoing Gujjar agitation in neighbou
ring Rajasthan, high alert had been sounded in the border districts of Madhya Pr
adesh to check any spread of violence.[2] The agitation finally ended after Raja
sthan Chief Minister Vasnundhara Raje agreed on a 5% reservation under a new spe
cial category

Violence

Police in Sikandra town fired at protesters who torched a police station and two
buses and shot and wounded a policeman, said Amanjit Singh Gill, Rajasthan's di
rector-general of police. Protesters also burned down a police station in the ne
arby village of Chandra Guddaji, Gill said. Fifteen demonstrators died Friday wh
en police fired live ammunition and tear gas to halt rioting, said Singh. A poli
ce officer was also beaten to death. At least 70 injured people were hospitalize
d in Jaipur, the state capital, and the town of Dosa.[1]
Demonstrators blocked a major highway linking Jaipur to Agra site of the world f
amous Tejo Mahalay or Taj Mahal monument stranding thousands of people. Thousand
s of army, police and paramilitary forces patrolled villages to control the viol

[7] Political reactions Congress MP Sachin Pilot. [6] However. The Cabinet has decided to write to the Prime Ministe r requesting him to convene a meeting of Chief Ministers to review the National Scheduled Tribe Policy document of 2006. Raje alleged "a political party from a neighbouring state was inst igating and pumping money" to fuel the violence in the state. jawans of the Rajasthan Armed Constabul ary. we will not do that considering the chance s of further bloodshed. Karauli and Dausa as at least a dozen places. the Chief Minister announced that she would write to the Prime M inister of India recommending placing Gujjars in the category of de-notified tri bes.ence. Six wagons of a goods train on its way to Agra derailed near Bandikui station in Dausa district due to tampering of rail track s. However. wielding arm an d ammunition. offices and civilian activity due to securi ty fears). besides the Rajasthan police. Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said. the Rajasthan government on made it clear that a commando op eration would be the last option for the recovery of the bodies now in the custody of large congregations of Gujjars at Karwadi village in Bayana tehsil of Bharat pur and at Sikandra in Dausa district. "It is shocking that notorious dacoits and goonda elements. setting aside a reservation of 4-6 per cent for them. We could have recovered the bodies in less than two hours using force. on 27 May Kirori Singh Bhainsla rejected Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje 's proposal for additional reservation for the agitating community. Expressing anguish over the violent incidents that have rocked the state since the past two days resulting in death of 37 people." Raje stated. including Alwar. allegedly by the Gujjars. 26 May witnessed sporadic violence when more than 36 towns observed a bandh to p rotest against the police firing. Raje said there is limit for "bearing such violence and arson" an d warned of stringent action against those who take the state to ransom. Government's response Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on 25 May said there is a limit to ever ything and that her government will not allow Gujjars to take the state to "rans om". she warned. With post-mortem exam ination and the last rites yet to be performed on the bodies of 18 persons kille d in police firing. Northern railway cancelled nine trains passing thro ugh Rajasthan and diverted several others to different routes Security forces' action The Indian Army. Kotputli. have joined Kirori Singh Bainsla and are indulging in arson and vi olence. as he had earlier welcomed Raje s move to re commend in a letter to the Prime Minister four to six percent special reservatio n for the community. the Rapid Action Force. and Kekri in Ajmer. Bainsla s reje ction of the proposal was unexpected. Pali and Rayla in Bhilwara observed bandhs (closu re or curtailing of city businesses. Such things will not be tolerated. She sai d it was very unfortunate that the violence comes in the wake of the Jaipur bomb ings which claimed 66 lives. carried out patrolling in the troubled distri cts of Bharatpur. She said the gover nment is open for talks to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner and regretted that Bainsla has been rejecting her appeals. Parliamentary Aff airs Minister Rajendra Singh Rathore told journalists here that the Gujjar reserv ation is a national issue. The government will not allow anyone to take the state to ransom and law and order into their own hands . after being denied permission to visit Dausa district .[5] On 26 February.

He demanded." Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla." Gujjars call off agitation in Rajasthan JAIPUR: Gujjars. Read more: Gujjars call off agitation in Rajasthan . told reporters after holding talks with chief minister Ashok Gehlot and a co mmittee of ministers appointed by the state government. Bainsla and his team agreed to the government's assurance that it will complete the quantifiable data collection within six months and keep four per cent backlo g of services.com/india/Gujjars-call-off-agitation-in-Rajasthan/article show/7224977. which are also known as Gurjars. It has to admit the misgivings and must quit office now. which began on December 20. The agitation.to meet agitating Gujjar leaders. Why are Gujjars Demanding Reservation? Gujjars. on Wednesda y night called off their 17-day agitation after the state government assured the m that it will complete within six months the quantifiable data collection for t he purpose. and Gujj ars. spearheading the agitati on. The agitation was in news in 2007 and 2008 when clashes with police force had resulted into few deaths as well. Many other facilities for students have also been promised.The Times of India http://t imesofindia. "The Vasundhara Raje government has lost its mo ral right and constitutional authority to continue in power.cms#ixzz1CKNcgY9R Gujjar Agitation in Rajasthan : The Complete Story After almost 2 and half years. the Rajasthan government led by V asundhara Raje must quit as it had lost the moral right to rule after the death of 35 people in clashes. come under Other Backward Classes (OBC . causing harship to people and loss to various industries in the state. saying. No w. when the Gujjars have again decided to agitate by laying siege to railways tr acks and highways. it is time to take a look at the whole chain of events along with the points which led to such confrontation between Rajasthan Govt. "The government has promised that the quantifiable data shall be ready within si x months. "I have called off the agitation. The agitators have been blocking Mumbai-Delhi rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bhara tpur." he said after signing an agreement with the government in this regard. I am satisfied with what the state government has offered to us. has seen the Gujjars blocking several rail and road routes. demanding five per cent quota in jobs in Rajasthan. You cannot terrorise a community.indiatimes. Four per cent backlog will be kept while one per cent reservation will continue. Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan is back in news as thousand of people from Gujjar caste have began protests in Bharatpur district d emanding 5 % reservations in government jobs. and Jaipur-Agra National Highway at Dausa and several other roads in suppo rt of their demand.

Their init ial demand was to include them in Scheduled Tribes (ST) category which already h as Meena community. between 23rd of May to 17th June 200 8. Their demand came in sha rp criticism from Meena community. Following that animosity between Gujjars and BJP led state government increas ed. Who is Kirori Singh Bainsla Kirori Singh Bainsla is the leader of Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti and has b een the spearhead of the whole agitation that has taken place so far since 2007. The stir ended after Vasundhara Raje govt. The protest was then called off. Unlike few other states. But the first major Gujj ar agitation took place in the year 2007 when thousands of Gujjars under the lea dership of Kirori Singh Bainsla laid siege to railway tracks and roads. Most of the Gujjar s are based in villages and are involved in farming and keeping cattle. is the central figure of the Gujjar agit ation. Owing to presence of powerful castes like Jat. The agitation was more violent and widespread this time as Indian army was ca lled in to handle the situation. Their de mand to state govt. Justice Chopra committee was set up for this purpose.e. whic h continued for more than a week. the Gujjars of Rajasthan do not e njoy economic and political clout as few other castes in OBC. . i t led to clash between two communities apart from the clash between the proteste rs and the state authorities. Sawai Madhopur. agreed to give 5 % reservation to the Gujjar community under a special ca tegory. ended only after then Chief Minister Vasundhar a Raje agreed to set up a committee to look into the demands of Gujjars. the biggest beneficiary in Rajasthan in ST. This time the stir continued for almost a month. Rebaris and Banjaras along with Gujjars in the special category. Gujjars have fe lt that the youth of their community is not able to make much use of the 27 % re servations given to OBCs. a retired Lieutenant Colonel. He had stated in his interview with Washington Post that Gujj ars were unable to compete with so little education and money in the OBC categor y where as many as 123 castes are present. Mali and Bishnoi in OBCs. was to include them in ST category. The protests this time resulted into death of 37 persons. Second Agitation in 2008 Justice Chopra committee rejected Gujjars demand in the month of December in 200 7. In the month of July in 2008. He has played the instrumental role in bringing Gujjar people and various Gujjar leaders under the umbrella of the common cause of getting reservation fo r their community. It led to second agitation of the Gujjars in the summers of 2008.) in Rajasthan. The protests. Bainsla. i. That is why he had come up with the a gitation plan to make govt. Unlike last time. Gujjar quota bill was finally passed in the assembly. clashes between Gujjars and M eena community didn't take place this time. Gujjars finally let go of demand of in clusion in ST category and instead asked for providing 5 % reservation to Gadia Luhars. First Agitation in 2007 Gujjars had begun demanding ST status as early as 2006. It led to deaths of 26 persons. Bainsla had even fought assembly electio n of Rajasthan in 2008 but had lost. aware about their plight and include them in ST cate gory where very few groups are present. Apart from these casualties. Karauli and Bharatpur districts. most of who died in co nfrontations. They have a major presence in Dausa. They also feel themselves lagging behind in education which eventually affects their job prospects even after reservations. many other people were injured and pu blic property worth crores was destroyed.

. For this purpose a committee was to be set up to speed up the l egal processes. Railways was the worst suff erer as not only its property was damaged. The reason was pretty straightforward. to establish within next one year the backwardness of Gujjars and other castes i ncluded in the special 5% reservation category. In the year 2008 the agitation had engulfed national capital Delhi too as 200 Gujjars w ere detained there after they disrupted the traffic. reservation beyond 50% has been allowed in special circumstances. after a lull for more than 2 years. Consequences of Agitation The 3 separate agitations within a span of last 3. Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Mahesh Bhagwati gave the decisi on on the basis that there was no irrefutable data which could justify the grant ing of 5% reservations to the Gujjars. granted 1% quota to the Gujjars a nd asked the community for the decision on rest 4% after the court's judgment. The high court turned down the Gujjars' plea for 5 % quota in govt. jobs on Dece mber 22nd. The bench has also asked the state govt.5 years have resulted into mor e than 50 deaths. too had c hanged in the state and Congress's Ashok Gehlot had become the new Chief Ministe r. The implementatio n of this reservation policy would have resulted into reservation going past 50 % in state which is unconstitutional as the reservation should not exceed beyond 50% in normal circumstances.Third Agitation in 2010 The ground for the third agitation which is going on presently was prepared last year when in the month of October High court stayed the provisioning of the 5% reservation to Gujjars. had promised to put forward the case of the community strongly in Rajas than High Court. Gujjars began the stir again on Dece mber 20th in Pilupura of Bharatpur district. Rajasthan Govt. In few states like Maharashtra. Both BJP and Congress govt. So. In the month of May this year. failed to find a permanent solution to the problem and Rajasthan state has yet again been thrown into a cauldron of unrest. but it had to face a lot of problem a s routes of many trains had to be changed. T he Govt. But not a single hearing of the case took place till December 22 nd. By this time the govt. hundreds of injured and heavy damages to the property. General public had to bear the brunt the most as they were the eventual victims for no fault of theirs.