As the Gujjar agitation for reservation in Rajasthan entered its third day on Sunday, a clash broke out between protesters and the police in Dholpur after officers blocked the highway in the area. Protesters pelted stones at the police, and the security forces fired in retaliation, reports said.
Protesters also set vehicles on fire, but no casualties or injuries have been reported yet.
CNN-News18 quoted Gujjar leader Vijay Bainsla as saying that the government had been given "enough time" to meet the community's demands, but they had "done nothing". "It is clear that the Congress party was not serious about the election manifesto."
He also reiterated the community's stand about staging a "peaceful protest".
Another prominent Gujjar leader, Kirori Singh Bainsla, said: "These are baseless allegations of stone pelting. In fact, the government should tell the police and administration to allow us to carry out peaceful protests."
Rajasthan: A clash broke out between police and protesters at Dholpur Highway today where the latter had blocked the road and set vehicles ablaze. The protesters were supporting the ongoing reservation movement by Gujjar community. pic.twitter.com/bq8U2JBCpe
— ANI (@ANI) February 10, 2019
Kirori and his supporters began a sit-in protest on rail tracks on Friday in Rajasthan's Sawai Madhopur district. The protesters are demanding 5 percent reservation for the Gujjar, Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara and Gadaria communities in government jobs and educational institutes.
The protest forced West Central Railway to divert, cancel or partially terminate nearly 200 trains over the weekend. A state government delegation, including Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh and senior IAS officer Neeraj K Pawan, on Saturday met Bainsla and others for talks, but they could not reach any agreement.
"We will continue the dharna on the rail tracks. No compromise was made with the government delegation. We want a 5 percent reservation order," Bainsla had said on Saturday.
Gujjars have given the Rajasthan government a 20-day ultimatum to clear its stand on providing the quota.
On Saturday, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot had appealed to the people to maintain peace and said that his government was ready to hold talks. "The government is serious in resolving the issue. The Congress government had heard the issues in the previous tenure and made efforts at the state level. I appeal to people to maintain peace," he said.
Currently, the five communities have a separate 1 percent reservation under the most-backward category, in addition to the quota they get as Other Backward Classes.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2019 15:44:12 IST