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Rajasthan: Gujjar protestors clash with police, 15 killed
May 24, 2008 19:30 IST
Last Updated: May 24, 2008 21:20 IST
At least 15 Gujjars were killed and scores wounded in police firing in Daussa district of Rajasthan on Saturday, pushing up the death toll to 31 in two days of agitation by the community members, demanding Scheduled Tribe status.
As the agitation spread to new areas of the state today, the state government rushed Director General of Police A S Gill to talk to Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bhainsala, who said he was ready to talk to the government but made it clear that the agitation would continue till their demand was met.
The police opened fire when a mob of Gujjars, protesting the police firing on their community members in Bayana in Bharatpur district on Friday and pressing for ST status, stormed the police station at Sikendra in Daussa district after overpowering the policemen and set it on fire, SHO Bane Singh said.
With this, the death count in two days of firing and clashes between Gujjars and police mounted to 31.
"The situation is extremely tense and additional police force has been requisitioned to handle the situation," Singh said.
The police had opened fire on Gujjar agitators at Philpura village of Bayana on Saturday, when they pelted stones on them after tear gas shells failed to disperse the protestors, who damaged the railway tracks.
Eight hundred army men were deployed today in violence-hit Dhumiria and Karwari villages of Bayana tehsil, the scene of Friday's violence by Gujjars, joining the Central Reserve Police Force and the Rapid Action Force, to restore law and order.
The Gujjars' stir spread to the new areas with fresh violence erupting at Nimkathana in Sikar district, where the protesters torched a roadways bus and damaged three others vehicles, police said.
The road traffic between Jaipur and Delhi was affected with agitators putting up a blockade at Beheror in Alwar district and stopping trains at Bandikuin railway station, official reports said.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 were imposed in nine districts, where there is a sizable Gujjar population, as a precautionary measure.
In Ajmer, the Gujjar Sangarsh Samiti took out a rally and burned an effigy of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and enforced a bandh in Kishangarh town of the district.
Train services on the Mumbai-Delhi route was disrupted with some of the trains being cancelled and others diverted.
State Director General of police reached Bayana in an attempt to hold discussions with Bhainsla, who along with thousands of agitators, was squatting at Philpur.
However, Bhainsla, convener of Gujjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti, told PTI at Kherawadi in Bayana that the agitation would continue till the demand for ST status for the community was met.
"Till we receive the letter confirming ST status to us, we will keep up the agitation for an indefinite period," he said as he sat on the rail track with his supporters on the Mumbai-Delhi line.
He said he was ready to talk to the government but nothing has been communicated to him so far.
The Gujjars refused to hand over the bodies of 12 of the 16 people killed on Friday, asking the government to send doctors to do the post-mortem in the fields, where they were lying. The police managed to take away only four bodies.