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Gujjars hold protests in Delhi

Staff Reporter

Solidarity with members of their community in Rajasthan



VENTING IRE: Members of the Gujjar community blocking traffic at Khajuri Chowk in Delhi on Wednesday to protest against police action in Rajasthan. PHOTO: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

NEW DELHI: A large number of Gujjars held peaceful demonstrations here in the Capital on Wednesday to express solidarity with members of their community who are agitating for their inclusion among the Scheduled Tribes in Rajasthan.

The demonstrators blocked the main road at Khajoori Khas in North-East Delhi and set tyres on fire in the morning causing traffic jams. They burnt an effigy of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and shouted slogans against her.

"The demonstration was peaceful and lasted just half an hour. However, adequate police force was deployed at the spot in view of the violent clashes in Rajasthan on Tuesday," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) Jaspal Singh.

Peaceful demonstrations were also held at Chattarpur and Badarpur in South Delhi.

All-India Gujjar Mahasabha (AIGM) executive president Ramsharan Bhatti said: "It was just a token demonstration to express solidarity with our fellow community members agitating in Rajasthan. The demonstration was peaceful and we are committed not to indulge in any violence."

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Mahasabha, led by Delhi AIGM executive president Lakshmichand Chechi called on Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil demanding withdrawal of the troops from Rajasthan, immediate dismissal of Vasundhara Raje Government and legal action against the police officers responsible for opening fire at the agitators.

"We also sought government jobs and an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 5 lakh each to the injured," said Mr. Bhatti, adding that his entire community was behind the Gujjars of Rajasthan in this hour of crisis.

Chalking out their future course of action at a meeting in Gujjar Bhavan here, the community leaders decided to hold a sit-in demonstration at Jantar Mantar on Thursday to demand a judicial inquiry.

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