Gujjar leader turns down Raje's invitation for dialogue

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Jaipur/New Delhi, May 25 (UNI) Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje today appealed to Gujjar community to maintain peace and warned those indulging in politics over dead bodies as the leaders of the agitation seeking ST status for the community today turned down her invitation for dialogue.

Talking to reporters in Jaipur she regretted over Gujjar Reservation Committee Convener Col Kirodi Singh Bainsla's "one sided and unreasonable" decision for reviving the Gujjar agitation over the ST status issue and warned Gujjar protesters against breach of law and order.

Col Bainsla, who is leading a dharna at railway tracks in Pillupura in Bayana region with the bodies of 12 police firing victims, had showed no inclination for talks with the state government.

Home Ministry sources said the Centre was keeping tabs on the developments there and was in constant touch with the Raje Government in the state and has sent 21 companies of paramilitary forces to the desert state so far.

The situation in Pillupura and Karvaria near Bayana and Sikandara in Dausa district where violence and police firing during past two days have claimed at least 36 lives, continued to be tense.

Gujjars were sitting on dharna at both the places.

Bandhs were organised in several towns including Pali, Alwar, Kekri, Sarwad, Vijay Nagar, Rayala, Toda Rai Singh, Nawan, Kuchamaan and Kotputli.

The situation was peaceful as no fresh untoward incident was reported from any place, police said.

The state government had last night invited the Gujjar Reservation Action Committee Convener Col Bainsla to hold talks to resolve amicably the agitation issue which since May 23 has taken a toll of 36 lives.

The Gujjar leader was invited to Chief Minister's Office(CMO) at 1100 hrs to hold talks with Chief Minister Raje.

State Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who had earlier also spoken to Col Bainsla to persuade him to withdraw the agitation, said the state government so far received no word from the Gujjar leader.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) in Delhi strongly condemned the brutal police firing stating ''The BJP government has not learnt any lesson from last year's incidents and completely bungled in tackling the incident.'' The party urged the Rajasthan government to stop ''police repression'' of the agitators and arrive at an amicable solution to the problem through dialogue with the protesting leaders.

AICC general secretary and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot lambasted BJP Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani and party president Rajnath Singh for their ''failure'' to Vasundhara Raje for proper handling of the agitation.

He said ''Criminal negligence of the Raje Government was responsible for flaring up Gujjar violence.'' Uttar Pradesh Congrees Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi in Lucknow demanded dismissal of the Rajasthan government alleging that the Chief Minister had lost senstivity and turned into a dictator.

Thousands of Gujjars gathered near Noida too demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister and blocked the railway track of Maripart Railway station to protest the police firing.

The agitation has left scores of tourists stranded in Agra as buses and trains plying in Agra-Jaipur route were cancelled following the violence so far. About 100 buses enroute from Agra to Jaipur had been cancelled.

Rail services also remained paralysed for the third day as trains were run on diverted routes and some remained suspended.

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