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Rajasthan govt to set up panel to implement reservations

July 31, 2009 14:41 IST

A committee headed by the Rajasthan chief secretary will be set up soon to implement the decision to accord five per cent reservation in jobs to Gujjars and three other communities and 14 per cent to economically poor among forward castes in the state. This was stated today by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who said that a Gazette notification on the Rajasthan Reservation Act-2008, which was approved by Governor S K Singh on Thursday night, will be issued soon.

"A high-level committee headed by the state chief secretary will be set up soon to work out the implementation of the new act," Gehlot said at a press conference. The act providing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes, special reservation category to Gujjars, Banjara, Gadia Luhar, Raika (Rebari/Devasi), and Economically Backward Classe will come into force in the state after the notification, he said.

The state government will also intimate the Centre about the new statute with a request that it should be included in the ninth schedule of the Constitution to prevent interference by courts, Gehlot said.

A sit-in demonstration by Gujjars, under the leadership of Kirori Singh Bainsla, near Hindon town in the state's Karoli district for an early enactment of the bill, was called off on Thursday night after the Governor gave assent to it. Bainsla will be making a formal announcement in this regard. The bill was passed by the Rajasthan assembly last year when the Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party government was in power.

Expressing his satisfaction over the peaceful turnout of events, Gehlot said the previous BJP government did not handle the Gujjar stir well, which resulted in violence and bloodshed. Likening the current Gujjar Mahapadav to Gandhian-type agitations, he said, "We have been holding talks in Jaipur and the Gujjars have enjoyed cultural events at Penchla-mode in Karauli since Monday...is it not a peaceful way of dealing with the situation? The BJP never realised this and messed up with police firing on all occasion of public protests."

"There was no positive dialogue between the Gujjars and the Raje government. Had there been one, the bloodshed during the Gujjar agitations in 2007 and 2008, in which over 70 people were killed, could have been averted," he claimed.

He said his government initiated talks and invited their leaders in the state capital to resolve the crisis despite the Opposition's 'baseless allegations that the Congress was pestering Raj Bhavan to drop it and/or compelling the Governor to act according to the Congress' wishes".

Quoting a BJP statement carried in local papers, Gehlot said it was 'most unfortunate' that the Opposition criticised the working of the Governor, who had keenly studied the bill in consultation with constitutional experts. The new act would provide 16 per cent quota to SCs, 12 per cent to STs, 21 per cent to OBCs, five per cent to four castes: Gujjars, Banjara, Gadia Lohar and Raika (Garacia) and 14 per cent to EBCs including Brahmins, Rajput, Vaishya, Mathur etc.

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