Congress asks Rajasthan CM to talk to Gujjars

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New Delhi, May 26 (UNI) Accusing the BJP government in Rajasthan of ''playing with bullets,'' the Congress today asked Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to talk to Gujjars and end their ongoing agitation.

''The government is criminally culpable for what is happening in Rajasthan in the past few days," AICC Spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons, while pointing out that the government was following ''the policy of shoot first, talk later.'' Claiming that there was a total breakdown of law and order, he said 39 people were killed now and 29 during the Gujjar agitation last year.

Asked if the Congress supported inclusion of Gujjars in the list of Scheduled castes, the demand on which the community was agitating, Mr Tewari said there was a set procedure. The administrative procedure was very clear. There was no question of passing the buck.

He said it was for the state government to make a recommendation to include a new caste in the list of SCs or STs. The Centre would then take a decision on the basis of the parameters used for the purpose.

In this context, he said it was Ms Vasundara Raje who had promised during her 'Parivarthan Yatra' in 2003 that Gujjars would be included in the list of SCs.

''The BJP government has contributed only towards complicating the issue during the past one year,'' Mr Tewari said, adding that ''normally in a democracy, the Chief Minister will not tell the people not to test the patience of the government.'' ''She should understand that she is no more the Maharani of Dholpur, but an elected Chief Minister.'' Mr Tewari also criticised the BJP for shifting its three-day National Executive from May 31 to Delhi from Jaipur.

Asked if the Justice Chopra committee recommendation on Gujjar issue had already been sent to the Centre by the Rajasthan government, Mr Tewari said the mandate of the committee was not to look at what all the parameters and criteria set by the Centre.

''It has a particular mandate. But unfortunately they have done everything other than fulfilling the mandate.'' UNI SH RL HS1826

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