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Jan 06, 2011 at 08:08am IST

Gujjars call off protests, 17-day stir ends

Jaipur: Gujjars, demanding five per cent quota in jobs in Rajasthan, on Wednesday night called off their 17-day agitation after the state government assured them that it will complete within six months the quantifiable data collection for the purpose.

"I have called off the agitation. I am satisfied with what the state government has offered to us," Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, spearheading the agitation said after holding talks with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and a Committee of Ministers appointed by the state government.

The breakthrough came after seventeen days of protest during which Gujjars blocked railway tracks and roads. They had even cut off milk supply in various parts of the state.

But after the fourth round of negotiations between the Gujjars and the Gehlot government, both sides agreed on the following:

One percent quota for Special Backward classes including Gujjars to stay as it is.

For the remaining four percent, Rajasthan government to file a review petition against the High Court's stay on 5 percent quota for Gujjars.

Government to collate quantifiable data on Gujjar population within six months 0and present it before the backward classes commission as ordered by the court.

While the government recruitment will not be put on hold, a four percent backlog to be kept for Gujjars until the court verdict.

The agreement comes as a relief to the people who have been forced to deal with disrupted rail and road traffic through the winter break and for the tourism industry hit hard by the protests in the peak season.

"Everyone's heaving a sigh of relief after this agreement. The people have gone through a lot of trouble but we've managed to resolve it peacefully," said Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

With the Rajasthan government's promise of collating the quantifiable data in the next six months the Gujjars can finally see light at the end of a three year long struggle for quota even as ordinary people and the government heave a sigh of relief.

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