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Gujjars agree to hold talks with Rajasthan government
Neelabh Srivastava in Karwadi (Rajasthan) | June 06, 2008 19:37 IST
After more than a fortnight-long violent agitation, which claimed 43 lives in police firing, the Gujjars demanding Scheduled Tribe status on Friday decided to hold talks with the Rajasthan government at Bayana.
The decision to hold the talks, at a date to be fixed in consultation with Rajasthan government, was taken at a meeting of top Gujjar leaders including leading intellectuals, community leader Kirori Singh Bainsla told reporters.
Emerging from the Gujjar Mahapanchayat, called a day after the state government sent a fresh invitation to the Gujjars to join the negotiating table, he said the talks should be held at Bayana in Bharatpur district, which has been the epicentre of the stir by the community since May 23.
Bainsla said Gujjar representatives for the talks would be announced after receiving a communication from the state government.
"We are communicating this message to the government through the media," Bainsla said.
"Talks will take place in Bayana. The Gujjar representatives will be decided once we receive a communication from the government about our decision," he said.
"We have only one demand: that the state government should send a recommendation granting ST status to Gujjars," Bainsla said. He vowed to continue the agitation till the demand was met.
Gujjar representatives from Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and from other parts of Rajasthan like Alwar, Sikar, Sikandara, Dausa, which have a sizable Gujjar population, arrived here to participate in the 'Mahapanchayat'.
After the Mahapanchayat, Bainsla led all the members on to the railway tracks from where he made the announcement about the decision to hold the talks in Bayana.
Bainsla made a special mention of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav as he said, "I thank the Railway Minister as we are sitting on these rail tracks for 15 days. We will repair the railway tracks in whatever ways we can once we leave this place."
Bainsla also thanked Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav, Amar Singh, Lok Janshakti leader Uma Bharti, farmer leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan among others for the support extended by them to the Gujjars.
Gujjar leaders, who arrived from various parts of the country, extended their support to Bainsla and said they would follow whatever decision he takes to secure their demands.
Congress leader Rambir Singh Vidhudi, who came here from Delhi, said he would take up the matter with Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images].