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Gujjars say no to exempting reservation act from judicial review

Last updated on: January 03, 2011 21:03 IST

Agitating Gujjar leaders rejected a government offer on Monday to give immunity to a law on reservation to them from judicial review as the talks between the two sides failed to end the deadlock over the quota issue.

Both the sides said they will meet again on Tuesday for the fifth round of parleys after the Gujjars insisted that the government should bring in a fresh legislation for providing the community five percent reservation in state jobs. A committee of ministers said the Gujjar team was in agreement with government's proposals on a majority of issues to end the 15-day impasse but no consensus could be achieved on the five percent reservation demand.

The government proposed to the agitators its readiness to include an act on the issue under the IX Schedule of the constitution to exempt it from judicial review but the Gujjars turned down the offer demanding passing of a new bill in the legislative assembly to accord five per cent reservation to Gujjar, Gadia Lohar, Banjara and Rebari communities.

The Rajasthan high court had on December 22 stayed the operation of the act and directed the state government to undertake a quantifiable data collection exercise within one year to justify the quota for members of the community. "The meeting was held in cordial manner. Out of around 12 points, both the sides were able to reach a consensus on around nine points leaving behind the issue of five per cent," said Rajasthan Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal, member of the committee after the meeting.

"We have asked them that the government would get the reservation act included in IX Schedule of the Constitution," he said. "Now we are going to brief Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on the meeting and the next round of talks would take place on Tuesday. The delegation will also apprise their community about the outcome of the meeting," he added.

Dhariwal said the government assured the leaders that the pending cases of government jobs to the kin of those killed during previous stirs, pension to the disabled and compensation to the injured will be looked into. "A committee will examine the criminal cases against the agitators and will decide sympathetically on their withdrawal issue," the minister said.

"Other issues which were discussed included handing over of seized arms of the agitators, renewal of arms licences of those who have not been charged and facilities to these communities almost equivalent to ST and SC categories," Dhariwal added.

Sriram Bainsla, a Gujjar delegate, said that talks were inconclusive. "Our main demand is five per cent reservation and we will accept nothing less than this. The government is trying to misguide us but we are firm on our demand. We will discuss with our leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, and would come again to hold fresh talks," he said.

A 50-member Gujjar delegation had arrived in Jaipur on Sunday evening and held discussions with the committee comprising Rajasthan Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, Dhariwal and Rajasthan Transport Minister BK Sharma for over four hours, but the talks failed to make much headway.

The second round of talks was held on Thursday last between an 11-member delegation and government officials at Bayana. The two sides first met on Sunday at Pilukapura, the epicentre of the agitation. Agitators led by Kirori Singh Bainsla have been blocking Mumbai-Delhi rail tracks at Pilukapura in Bharatpur, and Jaipur-Agra National Highway at Dausa and several other roads in press their demands.

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