Gujjar talks conclude on positive note; Bharat Bandh put off

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Jaipur, Jun 9 (UNI) The first round of official talks between the Rajasthan government and agitating Gujjar leaders over the community's demand for ST status ended in Bayana on a positive note today with both sides expressing willingness to continue the dialogue tomorrow.

As an outcome of the first round of talks, the Gujjar leaders have decided to put off the Bharat Bandh scheduled for tomorrow, Bharatpur Divisional Commissioner Niranjan Arya said.

The Gujjar leaders also urged the Government to ensure that it did not resort to repressive measures like putting barbed wire fencing around dharna site in Pillukapura and snapping power supply to the area, Mr Arya told UNI over telephone.

However, the venue of the talks for tomorrow was still undecided.

While, Gujjar leaders stressed for Bayana as venue for talks tomorrow, the Ministerial delegation said that as per understanding further talks should be held in Jaipur, Mr Arya said.

Both sides would decide the venue after consulting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Gujjar leader Col Kirodi Singh Bainsla.

A two-member ministerial delegation comprising Mines Minister Laxmi Narain Dave and Irrigation Minister Sanwar Lal Jat held the talks today with the 37-member Gujjar delegation led by Delhi Legislator Ramvir Singh Bidhuri and former Haryana Congress President JP Nagar in Bayana.

Principal Secretary Water Resources S N Thanvi and Bharatpur Divisional Commissioner Niranjan Arya also participated in the discussion on behalf of the state government.

Gujjar Reservation Action Committee Convener Col Kirodi Singh Bainsla and his senior associates did not participate in the opneing round of talks.

Later both minsiters proceeded for Jaipur to brief Chief Minister about the talks.

Chief Minister Raje has also reviewed the progress at Jaipur with BJP leadership, including party General Secretary Gopinath Munde, Spokesman Prakash Javadekar and state President Om Prakash Mathur.

The Action Committee has been spearheading the agitation for ST status, since May 23 which left at least 38 people dead.

Prior to opening of the talks, Col Bainsla and some other Gujjar leaders have expressed their displeasure before the media, for arrest of 15 Gujjar activists who were discharged from the SMS Hospital after treatment here last evening. Cases were registered against them in connection with violence in agitation in Pillukapura-Karwadi near Bayana on May 23.

The talks, which were scheduled to be held at 1500 hrs today, were delayed by over an hour and could begin only after 1615 hrs.

UNI SS PDT HT2032

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