Gujjar stir: Stand-off continues, protesters block more roads

No further talks between Gujjars, demanding five per cent quota in jobs and educational institutions, and the Ashok Gehlot administration were held today to break the impasse.

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

Around 200 protesters today jammed the Jaipur-Ajmer highway at Mangaliawas in Ajmer district throwing road traffic haywire. Late last night, some protesters set ablaze a truck near Kotputli town on the Jaipur-Delhi highway, police said adding no one was injured.

Besides the Dausa-Bharatpur highway, agitators continued to squat on Karauli-Hindaun, Mahaveerji-Karauli, Mahua-Hindaun and Gangapur-Lalsot roads in the state, police said.

Hundreds of Gujjars continued to stage sit-ins on tracks in Bharatpur, Dausa and Tonk districts affecting rail traffic. They also disturbed movement of trains in Sawaimadhopur.

State roadways buses and other vehicles could not enter Bharatpur and Ajmer cities due to blockade on the highways, police said. Partial shutdowns, in support of Gujjar demands, were observed in Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Jhalwar and some other towns, reports said.

Movement of trains on the Ajmer-Indore section at Bhilwara, which was vacated by the agitators last evening, resumed today. But the Gujjars squatted on Delhi-Mumbai rail tracks near Malarna in Sawaimadhopur district, police said.

Nearly a thousand Gujjars, led by their leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, are staging a sit-in at Pilukapura in Bharapur district.

"I know the agitation is causing a great problem to the people but we do not have any other option," Bainsla told reporters.

"We will call off the stir as soon as our reservation demand is met," said the spearhead of the Gujjar agitation.

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 for the last few days. The Jaipur-Agra National Highway-11, a key route for the transporters, is blocked.

"The stir is causing a loss of around Rs 20 crore per day and has led to hike in prices of commodities by five to ten per cent," Vedbhushan, President of the Rajasthan Truck
and Transport Operators Union, told PTI.

North-Western Railways have refunded over Rs one crore following the cancellation of a large number of tickets in the wake of diversion and rescheduling of trains.

"We have refunded Rs 1.10 crore till last night. This is the amount of the last three days. Cancellations are still on," an NWR official said.

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