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Stir on; Gehlot won't budge under Gujjar pressure

Source: PTI
December 28, 2010 22:14 IST
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The Rajasthan government today categorically said the ongoing recruitment drive in the state would not be put on hold as demanded by agitating Gujjars who continued to lay siege to rail and road routes in the state on day nine of their stir.

The deadlock persisted as no talks were held between the Gujjars, demanding among other things five per cent quota in jobs and educational institutions, and the state government on Tuesday to end the stir.

"The stand-off continues. No fresh talks were held today. The situation remains the same," Gujjar leader Roop Singh told PTI by telephone from Pilukapura in Bharatpur where thousands of protesters were staging a sit-in.

Appealing to Gujjars to call of their agitation, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the recruitment drive in the state would continue and would not be put on hold under pressure.

"We are going to recruit nearly 8,000 teachers and police constables for which lakhs of candidates have applied," he said.

The community should understand "our limitations" over the reservation issue which was sub-judice, Gehlot said.

The agitators on Wednesday blocked more roads in Bhilwara and Swaimadhopur districts as they continued to squat on railway tracks in Bharatpur, Dausa and Tonk, police said.

The blockades of NH-11 in Dausa and other interior road routes in Karauli, Sawaimadhopur, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Alwar districts also continued.

However, there was no report of violence from any part of the state.

Gehlot alleged the conspiracy to revive the quota stir in the state was hatched during the marriage of Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari's son in Nagpur recently.

"We have information that some people who attended the marriage had made plans for reviving the stir," he said.

After a meeting of the Gehlot Cabinet, Home Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the recruitment drive in the state would continue.

"We cannot put on hold recruitment for one lakh posts in the state for a year as demanded by the Gujjars."

"What we are suggesting is that we can keep additional 4,000 vacancies reserved for Special Backward Classes and it will be filled accordingly after the high court verdict on the matter," he said.

The cabinet appealed to the Gujjars to call off their stir which, it said, was causing a huge loss to the tourism and other sectors.

The stir has badly hit transport industry and supply of goods in the state with several thousand trucks stranded in different parts of the state.

The railways have so far refunded over Rs 1.5 crore following cancellation of 45,000 tickets in the wake of the agitation.

On Sunday, the first round of talks at Pilukapura, the epicentre of the stir, some 11-km from Bayana, were deadlocked with Gujjars unrelenting on their quota demand.

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