Gujjar agitation claims 18 more lives; toll 34

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Jaipur/New Delhi, May 24 (UNI) The agony of a bloodbath continued to haunt Rajasthan today as 18 people were killed and several others injured when police opened fire to disperse mob of Gujjar protesters at Sikandara in Dausa district while incidents of violence and arson were reported from a number of places protesting yesterday's police firing in Bayana.

Principal Secretary (Home) V S Singh said police opened fire at Sikandara in Dausa when other routine means, including use of tear gas and rubber pellets, proved to be ineffective in controlling the mob, which was staging a 'rasta roko', suddenly turned violent and resorted to stone pelting, arson and firing.

Director General of Police A S Gill said the mob burnt Roadway booking cabins, some stalls and tyres on the roadside on the busy Jaipur-Agra Highway and later set afire the Sikandara Police station.

The mob attacked the police, shot at a CRPF sub-inspector and beat up three to four other cops.

The CRPF, RAF and RAC personnel intially tried to control the situation by using tear gas and rubber pellets but it did not work and then they opened fire which left 18 persons dead and several injured, a Police Spokesman said in Dausa.

The police firing took place in three to four phases, police sources and eye witnesses said.

With this, the toll in the Gujjar agitation since yesterday has gone up to 34.

However, unofficial sources and Rajasthan State Congress Committee put the toll at 37.

PCC General Secretary Ash Ali Tak had released a list of 19 deceased yesterday night.

Over 30 of the injured were brought to SMS Hospital here.

Over 25 injured, who sustained injuries in Gujjar agitation at different places, were also being treated here.

AICC General Secretary and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot accompanied with party state Vice President Dr Chandrabhan and General Secretary Tak, visited SMS Hospital tonight to meet the injured.

Meanwhile, District Collectors and Police Superintendents of Dausa and Karauli districts have been removed from their present posts and kept awaiting posting orders, an Official Spokesman said.

In another significant development, Rajasthan Government later tonight invited Gujjar Reservation Action Committee Convener Col Kirodi Singh Bainsla for holding dialogue with Chief Minister Vasundhare Raje in Jaipur tomorrow.

The invitation had been sent to Col Bainsla through officials, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said.

DGP Gill said the situation...Eds : Here pick up suitably from line one, para one of DI 36 AGITATION-GUJJAR-FOURTH LEAD-SITUATION TWO LAST JAIPUR/NEW DELHI.

UNI SS PK CS2310

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