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Epicentre of caste conflict longs for normalcy
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June 04, 2007 13:00 IST
Last Updated: June 04, 2007 13:05 IST

Marred by the clashes between Gujjars and Meenas, normal life in Dausa has been badly hit with the people now pinning their hopes on the government to resolve the crisis.

While prices of essential commodities have touched astronomical figures, water supply in the city has also been affected.

"Milk is being sold as high as Rs 40 to Rs 60 per litre while tomatoes are priced at Rs 40 per kg. Other commodities of daily use are not coming to the city," Vikas, a local resident, said.

Prabhu Agrarwal, a wholesale dealer of groceries, said, "We have not got the goods since last Tuesday when the Gujjars began their agitation and blocked roads. This is the reason why prices have gone up."

The Gujjars have also damaged the main pipeline that supplies water to the whole city.

The district administration, along with the locals, has procured a couple of 250-litre capacity water tankers to supply water.

The shopkeepers and others are selling their products at higher prices, Prince, a hotel owner said, adding the problems faced by common men have been overlooked in the fight between the two communities.

Some social activists have opened free food centers in the town for truck drivers and passengers who have been stranded, but that too is not enough to bail the people out of the crisis, said Radheyshyam, a teacher in a government school.

Interestingly, the Gujjars and Meenas who have locked horns with each other to safeguard their rights, are catering to the needs of the city by taking up their daily businesses.

Meanwhile, ahead of a meeting between Gujjars leader Colonel (retd) Kirori Singh Bhainsala and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Monday, a prominent leader from the community said they were hopeful of a positive outcome from the talks.

"We are hoping that some solution would be found," Gujjars leader Roopsingh told PTI over telephone from Jaipur.

About their main demand of granting ST status, Singh said, "If the government asks for some time to think over our demand, we are ready, provided government should be giving us everything in writing. We will ask for a written commitment from the state government."

Asked about whether the ongoing road blockade especially at NH 11 -- the road connecting Dausa and Agra -- would be removed if the government comes up with a written commitment, Singh said, "Of course yes. Gujjars are true patriots. We too are against the national loss and all that is happening in Rajasthan and other parts of the country.

"From now onwards we are thinking over of continuing our protest and agitation in Gandhian way, as we too are not in favour of continuing with the loss to national property," he said.

The situation at NH 11 and the villages on the way was tense since Sunday night, when some clashes between Meenas and Gurjars were reported. On Sunday, members of both the communities had set on fire some of the shops and a truck carrying food items, sources said, adding no loss of life was reported.

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