Gujjars block Delhi-Mumbai rail route over quota demand, 25 trains affected

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Jaipur, Feb 8 (IANS) Blocking the tracks on the Delhi-Mumbai rail route in Rajasthan, the Gujjar community on Friday began its agitation for five per cent reservation in state jobs and educational institutions.

Members of the Gujjar Sangharsh Samiti (GSS) had called a “Mahapanchayat” earlier in the day.

Soon after, the GSS members went to the Malarna Dungar railway station near Sawai Madhopur and blocked the railway tracks.

Till the time of filing this report, Awadh Express and several goods trains were stranded at Sawai Madhopur.

GSS leader Kirori Singh Bainsla said: “We want five per cent reservation for our community, the way the Centre has given 10 per cent to the economically backward classes. The government did not respond to our demand, neither did anyone come to talk to us, so we were forced to take this step.”

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He asked the protesters to remain disciplined and avoid damage to the railway tracks, electric poles and other property.

“The next blockade would be on the Tonk-Niwai route followed by blockades on the Ajmer-Bhilwara and Hadoti-Shekhawati rail routes,” he said.

The GSS members said that the Congress government had come to power with their support and must now fulfil their demand or face the consequences.

The Gujjar agitation has affected the smooth running of trains on West Central Railway route.

Railway officials confirmed that routes of several trains were changed due to the ongoing agitation. A total of 25 trains have either been partially cancelled or their routes were diverted. Agra Fort train has been cancelled, Mathura-Sawai Madhupur passenger train, Shatabdi Express and Ratlam Mathura Memu have been partially cancelled.

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Meanwhile, the state Human Rights Commission on Friday issued a notice to the state government and the police administration directing the officials concerned to inform them the steps being taken to preserve the people’s rights by the stir proposed for February 11 at 12.30 p.m.

The Commission also made an interim recommendation to the state government to protect the human rights of rail and road commuters travelling through this route.

The order signed by Justice Prakash Tatiya, Commission’s President and Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma also questioned why and how this protest since last 13 years has been coming on railway tracks, adding that the plight of passengers can be gauged from the fact that 25 trains have been partially cancelled or their routes changed.

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The Commission, in this case, wants to know how many cases have been registered against the accused for staging protest on railway tracks, how many challans have been presented and how many cases have been withdrawn to date due to protests.

–IANS

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