Bainsla reaches Jaipur, talks with CM about to begin

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Jaipur, June 16 : Gujjar leader Col (R) Kirori Singh Bainsla has reached Jaipur, but is yet to arrive at the venue where he is slated to hold talks with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia over his community's demand for ST status.

The talks between the duo are expected to take place during the second half of the day. An agreement is expected to be reached today between Bainsla and the Rajasthan Government, even as the former agreed to hold talks after nearly one-month-long of deadlock.

On several occasions, the Rajasthan government sent missives to the agitating Gujjars to come forward and hold talks, but the latter refused saying there was no scope until the state government showed its eagerness to grant ST status to the Gujjars in the state.

During the month-long agitation, around 20 persons of the Gujjar community lost their lives in police firing. The protesting Gujjars kept their dead bodies for weeks together before organizing a mass cremation early last week.

Gujjars have been demanding that their place in the caste system be downgraded and granted tribal status so they can qualify for government jobs and university places reserved for such groups.

A year ago, Gujjars fought police and members of another caste that qualifies for job quotas. At least 25 people died in the clashes.

After these protests, a State Government committee decided that the Gujjars should not be downgraded, but said the government would spend 2.8 billion rupees improving schools, clinics and roads in Gujjar areas.

Gujjar leaders rejected this. For the last two weeks, Gujjars have been blocking roads and railway tracks and torched government vehicles.

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