M A I N   N E W S

Gujjars, govt strike deal

It is a matter of great pride and happiness. The agreement arrived between the Gujjars and the government on ST status will be announced by Raje at 11.30 on Wednesday morning.

— BJP leader Ram Das Agarwal

Jaipur, June 17
The 26-day-old agitation by Gujjars demanding ST status is set to be called off tomorrow as the community reached an agreement with the Rajasthan government in the final rounds of talks here today.

The agreement will be signed tomorrow by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, spearheading the stir, here tomorrow.

The breakthrough in the stalemate between the two sides was reached during a nine-hour final round of talks between the Gujjar delegation led by Colonel Bainsla and the Rajasthan government team led by senior BJP leader Ram Das Agarwal.

Emerging from the talks, Colonel Bainsala, who led an 11-member community delegation, told reporters “this is a historic success”.

Addressing the joint press conference, Agarwal said, “It was a matter of great pride and happiness that the final round of talks was fruitful. The agreement arrived between the Gujjars and the government on ST status would be announced by Raje at 11.30 am tomorrow”.

“The agreement is not meant for any caste or community. This is for the five crore people of the state,” he added.

Although there was no official word from either side as how the breakthrough was reached, sources said under the compromise worked out, the state government would recommend 4 per cent reservation for Gujjars under the de-notified nomadic tribe category.

Regarding the Gujjars’ demand for ST status, the two sides may refer to a 1999 letter from the union government suggesting the community could be adjusted to the ST category.

However, the state government could take a cue from the report of the Chopra Committee set up by it to consider the ST status demand by Gujjars, who now enjoy OBC status, and ask the Centre to relax the rules for bringing the community into ST category.

Colonel Bainsla, for his part, said, “I thank the Gujjar community for coming along with me to resolve the long-pending demand. I am grateful to the Chief Minister and the media”. — PTI



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