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Gujjars soften stand, ready to talk

Karawadi, Bharatpur, May 29
Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla said he could consider talking to the Rajasthan government provided it made a “proper proposal”. “We are willing to talk through our representatives with the state government, if the government makes a proper proposal,” Bhainsla said without specifying what he meant by “proper proposal”.

“However, we will not settle for anything less than ST status and we will not move from here till we have the recommendation letter from the state government," he said.

Seventy-year-old Bainsla earlier addressed a rally to observe “martyrs” day’ in memory of those killed in the agitation since 2007.

Jaipur: The Vasundhara Raje government is ready to hold fresh talks with Col Bainsla to resolve the crisis, senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said here. “We want to hold talks with the Gujjar leaders by any means”, state BJP in-charge Munde told reporters after coming out of a meeting between party and state government functionaries chaired by the CM

An invitation for talks will be extended to the protesters led by Bainsla in Pilupura, he said. — PTI




Gujjars block roads in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Gujjar protesters brave tear gas while throwing stones at security personnel during their demonstration at Aya Nagar in New Delhi on Thursday.
Gujjar protesters brave tear gas while throwing stones at security personnel during their demonstration at Aya Nagar in New Delhi on Thursday. Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, May 29
Normal life in the National Capital Territory of Delhi and adjoining areas was disrupted today as scores of agitating Gujjars blocked roads and threw stones at vehicles and the police during the one-day bandh called by the All-India Gujjar Mahasabha. The Gujjars are demanding ST status for the community.

According to the police, over 120 protesters were detained in various areas of the capital. Protesters clashed with police at Aya Nagar and Mehrauli in South Delhi. Some cases of arson were also reported.

The worst affected areas were the borders of the Capital including Ghazipur, Loni, Badarpur and Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road where thousands of commuters were stranded for hours because of blockades.

Trains including Gujarat Sampark Kranti Express (Nizamuddin-Ahmedabad) and Maharashtra Sampark Kranti Express (Bandra-Hazrat Nizamuddin) were cancelled and many routes were diverted, the Northern Railway said. The agitation also spilled over into some Gujjar-dominated areas in East, South and West Delhi, where small groups of agitators blocked roads an forced shops to close.

The police and paramilitary forces were seen controlling the situation throughout the day. The police said most markets remained opened.

Because of road blockades in some areas, many people were unable to reach their offices in time. Even some government offices reported thin attendance, as many opted to stay away fearing violence.

The Union Home Ministry had put the National Capital Region on high alert two days ago following the call given by agitators and issued advisories to Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments asking them to maintain peace. The protesters were observing the day as 'Martyrs Day' to mark the first anniversary of their agitation, in which people had died. Local policemen and paramilitary personnel were also deployed in adjoining Faridabad, Gurgaon (both in Haryana), Noida and Ghaziabad (both in Uttar Pradesh).




Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi stranded for three hrs
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 29
Passengers, aboard the Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi Express, were stranded for three hours today at Dankaur near Ghaziabad as Gujjars held a dharna on the tracks.

Sources said the train resumed its journey following the intervention of the director- general of police, Uttar Pradesh.

They said the passengers and railway property were protected during the protest.

The railways said the Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi was the lone train that encountered the trouble.

Sources said the deployment of seven companies of railway protection special force in the National Capital Region prevented any harm to the train passengers or damage to railway property.

Eighteen trains, including nine local trains, were cancelled due to the protest by the Gujjar Samaj Mahapanchayat.

A Press release issued by the northern railway said the cancelled trains included the premier 2954 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mumbai Central /August Kranti Express, besides the 9020 Dehradun-Bandra Terminus-Dehradun Express and the 9024 Firozpur-Mumbai Central-Firozpur Janta Express. The local trains cancelled today were the Aligarh-Delhi EMU, Khurja-Meerut passenger train and Ghaziabad-Delhi junction EMU.

Another eight trains were diverted, including the 2952 New Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express, the 2926 Amritsar-Bandra Terminus Paschim Express, the 2904 Amritsar-Mumbai Central Golden Temple Mail and the 2312 Delhi-Howrah Kalka Mail.

Meanwhile, the ministry of home affairs that had its security arrangements in Gujjar agitation affected states plans to continue vigil on vulnerable areas.

Special secretary, internal security, M. Kumawat said here today they were monitoring the situation and had provided 21 companies of central para military forces to Rajasthan and four to Haryana.

He said Delhi had no dearth of forces and no major incident was reported during the ‘NCR (National Capital Region) roko’ bandh’ announced by the Gujjars.

“There were some traffic jams and some minor incidents of tyre burning. Some trains were detained.

We have sent advisories to governments of Gujjar affected states and are also in touch with the director- general of the railway protection force,’’ Kumawat said.



Gujjars Protest
BJP MP offers to mediate
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Jaipur, May 29
Even as the Gujjar protest spread across the country today, the Rajasthan government kept a tight check on the agitators within the state. The “Shahidi Divas” programmes in Sikandra in Dausa district and Pilupura in Bharatpur during which Gujjar protestors offered floral tributes and observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to memory of those killed in police since last year passed off peacefully.

The state government today also decided to conduct the post-mortem of 14 victims of Sikandara police firing whose bodies have been lying at the mortuary of the SMS Hospital here since May 24.

Sitting BJP MP from Bharatpur, Vishwendra Singh has offered to help resolve the Gujjar reservation issue and met the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at her official residence here this morning. Later, he proceeded to Bharatpur via Delhi.

The MP is likely to mediate with the state government to bring Gujjar leaders to the table to resume talks. Gujjars at Bharatpur have a high regard for Singh, who is from the Bharatpur Royal family.

Congress leaders were stopped from going to the sit-in protest site. Uma Bharti too was refused entry by the state government.

Addressing medipersons after a meeting with the Chief Minister at her residence this afternoon, BJP spokesman, Prakash Javadekar said the government was ready for fresh talks with the protestors. “The government cannot meet thousands of protestors at the site. A common meeting point has to be decided,” he said.

He added that the bodies would be handed over to the kin of the victims for cremation. The deadlock over post-mortem of victims whose bodies were lying at dharna sites in Pillukapura-Karvari and Sikandra was still unresolved and efforts to resolve it were on, Javadekar said.



Mann arrives in Bharatpur

Jaipur, May 29
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann landed in Bharatpur today morning “to mediate peace” between the protesting Gujjars. Mann managed to come from Punjab via Uttar Pradesh, but was, however, stopped at the Bharatpur district. He was not allowed to move towards Pilu Pura, where the Gujjars were squatting with the bodies of their supporters.

Addressing a press conference at the Bharatpur Circuit House, Mann said he had come for the sake of peace and was aware of the problem. He demanded that since the Gujjars had no faith in the state government, the post-mortem of the bodies of the slain protestors should be conducted outside the state. — TNS



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