Lawyers pray for restoration of peace in Gujjar protest-hit region

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Bayana (Rajasthan), June 1 : Lawyers from all parts of India conducted a fire ritual and prayed for peace in Bayana, the hub of ongoing ethnic protests by Gujjars, who are demanding their inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes that will ensure reservation in jobs and seats in educational institutions.

A group of lawyers from Bayana's Bar Council, got together to conduct the ritual on May 31 in the region, and prayed for the restoration of peace in the protest hit region.

"The provincial government has not been able to tackle the issue properly. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje should either work towards restoring the peace in the State or should resign," said Giriraj Singh, a lawyer.

Death toll reached 38 on May 30 after police shot two more protestors during a road blockade in Sawaimadhopur District.

The Gujjar protest, which had spread to many places in and around Rajasthan, had disrupted road and rail traffic badly.

The government reserves about half of all seats in State colleges and universities for lower castes and tribal groups to flatten centuries-old social hierarchies.

Some critics say the quota system masks India's failure to provide good universal education and social equality.

A year ago, Gujjars in Rajasthan fought with police and members of another caste that already qualifies for job quotas. At least 26 people were killed in that violence.

After these protests, a State government committee said it would spend 2.8 billion rupees improving schools, clinics, roads and other infrastructure in Gujjar areas. But Gujjars rejected this option.

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