Gujjars attempt to disrupt rail traffic in Jammu

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Jammu, May 29: Supporting the ongoing nationwide agitation, hundreds of ethnic Muslim Gujjars today ''attempted'' to disrupt rail traffic here to support Hindu Gujjars in Rajasthan, who are demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Over a hundred of Gujjars gathered near Panama Chowk and launched a protest march amid anti-government slogans demanding special status for the community.

''The Gujjars, holding placards and banners marched towards the rail track near Channi Himmat and on reaching there, they tried to disrupt the rail traffic,'' a senior police official told UNI, asserting, ''they (Gujjars) attempted to stop a goods train that forced police to resort to a mild lathicharge.'' However, the agitating Gujjars, who were protesting on the rail track near Channi Himmat, on the city outskirts, entered into a scuffle with the police as they were stopped from demonstrating on the track to avoid any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, leader of the tribal community Shah Mohammad while addressing the demonstrators said, ''the agitation would continue in support of their 'just reasonable and genuine cause' of granting tribal status to them.'' ''We are one race and having same socio-economic and cultural background, our tribe should be treated equivalent,'' the leader said, adding that supply of milk, mutton, vegetables and other commodities by the Gujjars in the state may also be barred to motivate the Central government to intervene in the matter of granting ST status in favour of Rajasthani Gujjars.

Lashing out at the Rajasthan government for the police firing on agitating Gujjars, Mr Shah asked Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to end ''repression'' against the protesters and talk to them for an amicable solution.


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