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Raje calls Gujjars for talks
Neelabh Srivastava in Jaipur |
June 05, 2008 21:30 IST
In a fresh bid to end the fortnight-long Gujjar agitation, the Rajasthan government on Thursday invited Gujjar community leader Kirori Singh Bainsla for talks, who said he would send his representatives after consulting prominent Gujjar leaders.
A letter of invitation for talks was handed over to Bainsla at the agitation site at Pilupura-Karwadi area by the state's Principal Secretary (Irrigation) S N Thanvi who has been deputed by the Vasundhara Raje government to deal with the Gujjar stir demanding scheduled tribe status.
Responding to the government's overture, Bainsla said, "We have accepted the letter. I have invited prominent leaders of the Gujjar community from all over the country as well as intellectuals and social workers to come here and discuss the issue and decide something".
Replying to a question, Bainsla said a decision would also be taken whether Gujjar representatives would travel to Jaipur for the talks or hold the exercise at Karwadi where Bainsla and thousands of his supporters are agitating since May 23.
To another query, Bainsla said he would not be involved in the talks and would send "my representatives. I am not going from here. My andolan will continue".
Earlier, Bainsla had rejected Raje's offer to talk, asking the government to first send a letter recommending ST status for Gujjars to the Centre .
Bainsla said talks to end the agitation, which has already claimed 43 lives in police firing on mobs and spread beyond the boundaries of Rajasthan, was possible only if community leaders from across the country are allowed to meet in Bayana on Friday.
Bainsla said the government should not obstruct the movement of community leaders in reaching here for deliberations.
"We request the government and the administration not to stop our leaders from reaching here," Bainsla told media-persons near the railway tracks which have been under siege for the past 14 days.
Meanwhile, the Centre is all set to ask the Rajasthan government to take its own initiative for granting the agitating community de-notified or nomadic tribe status, as was done in Maharashtra.
The Centre is also likely to ask the Vasundhara Raje government to send a proposal incorporating all required criteria and comment if it wanted ST status for the Gujjars, official sources in Delhi said. The criteria are primitive traits, distinctive culture, shyness of contact with the community at large, geographical isolation and social and economic backwardness.
A communique jointly drafted by the Tribal Affairs, Law and Home Ministries said the granting of de-notified or nomadic tribe is a state subject. The Maharashtra government had implemented a four per cent quota for de-notified or nomadic tribe a long time ago and the Rajasthan government can follow the same model for the Gujjars, the sources said.
The move from the Centre is seen as a reply to the letter written by Raje to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] recommending four to six per cent reservation for Gujjars in the category of de-notified or nomadic tribe.