An Erupting Volcano

On Friday, the Gujjar rampage demanding a raise in the ST quota reservation triggered violence in the district of Bharatpur. A year after the Gujjar’s demand for ST status, the violent memories returned to the state of Rajasthan as 15 people were reportedly shot down by the police during the riot.

Col (retd.) Kirori Singh Bainsla, leader of this Gujjar movement that triggered the last year’s violence in which at least 25 people were killed, has blocked the railway tracks near Banyana district near Bharatpur. The tracks have been uprooted between Banyana and Kota and all the trains passing through that region have been diverted towards other routes. Almost twenty two trains going to Mumbai have been diverted to Agra or Mathura, whereas ten trains on the Delhi-Mumbai route have been cancelled.

Roads too, have been blocked especially on the Delhi-Jaipur highway where there has been a blockade. There is high tension in Jaipur, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Dausa and Karauli districts.

Bainsla, in the meantime, has refused to move an inch, and have refused to cremate the bodies until their demands are met. “I don’t care if I die here,” he said taking custody of the dead bodies. While they stood erect at their positions, almost 15,000 Gujjars arrived by the evening to give their leader full support.

The agitation warning was issued by the Rajasthan’s Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti when the state’s government fund was given for Gujjar dominant districts. But it seems like they would not compensate on anything else but a ST status. The main purpose is to shed their OBC tag and come under the category of ST status.

On Friday, there were tense moments between the police and the Gujjars. After an hour, the latter started stoning the police and became violent, in retaliation the police fired. There have been reports that the Gujjars also open fire. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government has ordered a judicial enquiry into the police firing on agitating Gujjars at Bayana. Section 144 has been imposed in Jaipur and realising the seriousness of the whole situation 10 columns of army has been dispatched to Bharatpur. All are just hoping that this incident doesn’t turn out to be more violent and blood shedding than last year.

The whole issue just highlights how webbed and contentious the reservation issue has become. The whole topic has become absurdly problematic and it is nothing else but a fire which has been aggregated with anger and discontent for the masses, be it reservation class or the non- reserved category. The government should definitely take a step to curb this erupting volcano which just showed a trailer last year and is yet to showcase the final show down which without a doubt will blow up the foundation of the Indian constitution.

Aakanksha Ahluwalia

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