Centre asks Raj Govt to take steps to normalise situation

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New Delhi, May 26 (UNI) The Centre today expressed concern over the situation in Rajasthan, hit by the Gujjar agitation for Scheduled Tribe status, and directed the state government to take adequate steps to restore normally in the state.

''We are concerned about the situation in Rajasthan and the Central government is monitoring the situation. The state government must take adequate steps to normalise the situation,'' Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmad told UNI.

Regarding the speculation about the Centre imposing article 356 in Rajasthan, Dr Ahmad said the matter had not yet been decided.

However, the situation was serious and all steps must be taken to ensure peace and normalcy in the state.

The Centre till now had sent 21 companies of paramilitary forces to the state.

The Cabinet Secretary today held a high-level meeting to discuss the Gujjar agitation issue. The meeting was attened by senior officials of the Home Ministry and National Security Advisor.

About Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to convene a conference of Chief Ministers of Gujjar agitation affected states at an early date, to address the issue in national perspective, Dr Ahmad said that he could comment only after going through it.

Ms Raje in her letter has also stressed on an early decision on the impending issue of formulation of a new tribal policy, the draft of which was sent to all states about two years ago. Ms Raje said the Centre knew that several issues pertaining to demands from different quarters, for inclusion in the ST list, could not be resolved without amending the present norms and therefore, the impending policy should be formulated soon.

The Chief Minister also urged the Prime Minister for early approval to the Rajasthan government's recommendation for grant of four to six per cent interim reservation to the Gujjars as non- scheduled tribal most backward group.

The Rajasthan government had sent a recommendation to this effect to the Centre about five months ago.

Ms Raje's move of writting the letter to the Prime Minister is seen as an effort to prepare ground conducive for opening of dialogue with agitating Gujjar leader Colonel Kirodi Singh Bainsla who is spearheading the 'dharna' at Pillukapura for the past three days.


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