Gujjar community protest turns violent, shots fired & police vehicles torched
On Sunday at Rajasthan’s Dholpur, the Gujjar agitation for reservation turned violent. A clash between the police and protesters broke out at the Dholpur highway where some vehicles were reportedly vandalised and torched. Gujjar community members continued their sit-in protest on rail tracks in Swai Madhopur district for the third day, forcing authorities to cancel three trains and divert one.
As per the railway authorities, as many as 18 trains were cancelled in Kota division of Central-West Railway on Sunday. However, between February 11 and 13, the railway authorities have already announced to cancel the movement of 37 trains, scheduled to pass through Kota division, in view of the ongoing quota stir.
According to police, unidentified miscreants fired around 10 shots in the air during the blockade on Agra-Morena highway. Three police vehicles including two jeeps and a bus were torched by the agitators, said the police, which had to use tear gas shells to disperse them.
Since the people of Gujjar community have squatted on rail tracks for the last three days, the movement of trains has adversely been affected. Ten trains plying on February 11 in Kota division areas have been cancelled while 12 trains scheduled for plying on February 12 also stand cancelled. Also, 15 trains scheduled for plying on February 13 have been cancelled well in advance.
The movement of vehicles on the National Highway-8 was also affected on Sunday at Ajmer as protestors blocked the National Highway-8 (NH-8) in support of the ongoing reservation stir.
In an appeal to Gujjar community, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has asked them not to sit on the rail tracks and has urged them to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On Saturday, agitators erected tents on railway tracks Sawai Madhopur district.
Last year on October 26, then BJP government led by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had passed a Bill, which increased Other Backward Classes (OBCs) quota from 21 per cent to 26 per cent. In December 2018, the state government had also approved one per cent reservation for Gujjar and four other OBCs as per the Supreme Court-imposed 50 per cent quota ceiling.