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Gujjars call off agitation, agree for talks
June 09, 2008 18:43 IST
Last Updated: June 09, 2008 22:34 IST
Rajasthan government's efforts to end the Gujjars' agitation over Scheduled Tribe status got a boost on Monday as the first round of talks ended on a positive note that saw the community withdrawing Tuesday's 'Bharat Bandh' and agreeing to take part in next round of dialogue.
After more than three-hour talks between Gujjar leaders Rajasthan ministers Laxmi Narayan Dave and S M Jat, Gujjar Aarkashan Sangharsh Samiti leader Kirori Singh Bainsla told media persons: "Talks were held in a very cordial atmosphere. It is a good beginning."
Bainsla told media persons at Karwadi that Gujjars had 'been assured that arrested protesters, including women, and injured would be freed, water and electricity supply restored and telecommunication jammers removed' from Karwadi-Pilupura, which is the epicentre of the agitation since May 23.
Bainsla's remarks came after he was briefed by the 37-member Gujjar delegation that took part in the talks aimed at doing the spadework for further negotiations.
Earlier, Gujjar leader and Delhi legislator Ram Veer Singh Vidhuri and the two ministers told a joint press conference after the talks that the community leaders agreed to call of Tuesday's countrywide strike and to take part in next round of talks to be held in Jaipur, the date for which has not been finalized.
Sources in Gujjar camp said its delegation put up five demands at Monday's meeting, including withdrawal of all cases by the government against the agitators, compensation of 10 lakh for the dead and a government job for one person from the deceased's family, compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the injured and registration of cases against policemen who fired on protesters.
The Gujjar delegation with representatives from all districts also included V S Choudhary, who is a doctor attached to agitation spearhead Kirori Singh Bainsla.
Monday's talks were mainly aimed at doing the spadework for the more crucial round of discussions involving possibly top leaders of the government and the Gujjar community, sources said.
The over fortnight-long Gujjar agitation, which began on May 23, has left 43 people killed in police firing and clashes in Rajasthan and Haryana.
The initiative for talks came from Rajasthan government last week through a fresh offer to Bainsla who promptly responded to it.
However, the Gujjar leadership and the government squabbled over the venue of the talks after which a breakthrough came on Sunday when the latter conceded the agitators' demand for preliminary discussions at Bayana.
Bharatpur SP Rohit Mahajan told PTI that of the 20 arrested on Sunday, 15 were held after being discharged from Swai Man Singh hospital in Jaipur, where they were undergoing treatment for their injuries. The other five were arrested from Bharatpur.
The Gujjars' violent agitation had begun at Karwadi-Pilupura on May 23 which left 17 people, including a policeman, dead.
The murder case was filed against the 20 Gujjars in connection with the death of the policeman. One person arrested under National Security Act in Sawaimadhopur.
Rajasthan police on Monday arrested one person of Gujjar community under the National Security Act apprehending that he might indulge in agitation at Chauth-ka-Barwada in Sawaimadhopur district.