Reservation row: Rajasthan Govt. continuing talks with Gujjars, says Joshi

New Delhi, Dec 28 (ANI): Union Rural Development Minister CP Joshi on Tuesday said the Rajasthan Government is trying to figure a way out of the deadlock and continuing talks with the ethnic community of Gujjars over their protest demanding quotas in government jobs and educational institutions.

"The government is trying to figure a way out of the deadlock.

The state government of Congress is discussing over the issue. The chief minister and the cabinet ministers are discussing and accordingly they will negotiate," Joshi told reporters, when asked about his meeting Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the issue.

Further responding to criticism from opposition political parties over the state government's failure to manage the unrest, Joshi said all political parties should discourage the methods used by Gujjars in voicing their demands.

"All political parties are trying to widen their base by fueling the issue. The means of protests have been used under all governments. Political parties should discourage such close down of state," said Joshi.

"No one is stopping one to protest as it does give solutions but the protest should be carried out whether by political party workers or by any other organisation in the lines of a democratic state and solution to be brought in lawful ambit," he added.

Earlier today, the deadlock over quota talks between the Rajasthan Government and Gujjar protesters continued as the agitation entered its ninth day.

Gujjar leaders have said they will go ahead with their December 29 Mahapanchayat and have threatened to shut down the National Capital Region (NCR). This comes at a time when the Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla announced a deadline of seven days for the administration to come up with a "permanent solution.

Earlier, Gujjar leader of National Capital Region (NCR) Veer Singh has said that the ongoing stir in Rajasthan for five percent reservation in government jobs and academics will spread in the entire country if their demands are not fulfilled.

"On December 29, there will be Panchayat meeting in Delhi. And after that the entire NCR will be jammed, whole Delhi and country will be jammed. And it is possible that today national highway number eight can be also jammed. So, government should now take a positive and a good decision taking into account the problems faced by Gujjar community and local citizens," he added.

The protesters are also planning to disturb rail routes in Sawaimadhopur and vehicular traffic at Rajsamand, Alwar, Baran, Nagaur, Sikar districts, and shut down in Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Dudu town in Jaipur and Jhalawar.

Meanwhile, around 200 agitators have blocked the highway near Nasirabad road at Mangaliawas (in Ajmer district).

Late on Sunday night, around a dozen youths torched a truck near Kotputli town on the Jaipur-Delhi highway and the fire brigade was called to control the situation.

Gujjars stepped up their agitation following a Rajasthan High Court order, which ruled members of the community could not be given special reservation in government jobs.

The agitation, which began in 2007, has claimed over 70 lives so far.

A year ago, Gujjars in Rajasthan fought police and members of another caste that already qualified for job reservations.

After the protests, the State government said it would spend Rs 2.8 billion on improving schools, clinics, roads and other infrastructure in Gujjar areas. But Gujjars rejected this option. (ANI)

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