Talks between Gujjars, who are on a warpath on job reservation issue, and Rajasthan government on Sunday failed to break the deadlock with protesters unrelenting on their demand for five per cent quota even as they continued blockade of certain rail and road routes in the state.
Gujjar leader Col (retd) Kirori Singh Bainsla rejected the government's offer to set up a committee with him as one of the members to resolve the reservation issue. "I want a permanent solution to this because I do not want to leave things half-way," he said, threatening to intensify the stir if their demands were not met within seven days.
Rajasthan Energy Minister Jitendra Singh, an emissary of the state government, said the Gehlot administration is committed to reservation for the Gujjars but before that it has to undertake a quantifiable data of nomadic tribes who come under the five per cent category.
"Although the High Court has given a year's time, the government may finish the task much earlier," he said.
The government is ready to set up a committee with Bainsla as one of its members to resolve the stand off, the minister said.
The first round of government-Gujjar talks was held at Pilukapura, the epicentre of the stir, some 11-km from Bayana in Bharatpur district.
Terming the meeting as inconclusive, Bainsla said the agitation would be called off only after the state government fulfilled their quota demand. He set a deadline of seven days to the government for meeting their demands and threatened to escalate the agitation if this was not done.
"Ministers are always welcome here but when you come here next time, come with a written order on reservation," Bainsla said. Singh offered to set up a committee with Bainsla as one of its members to monitor the quantifiable data collection exercise as directed by the Rajasthan high court.
Gujjars seek PM, Sonia's intervention
Gujjars also sought intervention of Prime Minister DR Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to "provide justice" to their community in Rajasthan.
"We urge the intervention of Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson for providing them socialjustice by granting schedule tribe status to them," said Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, a Gujjar organisation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The community is struggling hard to achieve equal rights in J-K and Himachal Pradesh, said TRCF secretary Javid Rahi.
Rails, roads blocked
On day seven of their stir, Gujjars attempted to block more rail and road routes in the state.
"Protesters tried to block narrow gauge rail lines in Bari area but the security forces thwarted them and controlled the situation," said Manvendra Singh, circle officer, Bari.
"They also tried to block Basedi road but could not do so due to the presence of the Rapid Action Force," he said.
There was no movement of trains on Jaipur-Delhi, Delhi-Mumbai, Jaipur-Kota and Ajmer-Indore tracks in Dausa, Bharatpur, Bhilwara and Tonk districts respectively as the Gujjars continued to occupy the tracks. Gujjar leader Roop Singh, a close aide of Bainsla, said a bandh was observed in Alwar and Sawaimadhopur. Nearly a thousand agitators blocked Jaipur-Agra NH-11 at Patoli near Mahua in Dausa district. Agitators also disrupted traffic on Jaipur-Kota NH-12 in Bundi district.
However, there is no report of any violence, police said.