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ST blow to Gujjars

Jaipur, Dec. 18: The panel looking into the Gujjar demand for recognition as Scheduled Tribes today said there was no need to grant them that status and recommended a special package to address their problems.

The panel, set up by the Vasundhara Raje regime after protests claimed 26 lives this summer, will send the findings to the Centre.

“The government of Rajasthan is advised to take the matter to the Government of India to abrogate the criteria used so far to include any class of ST, as these have become obsolete and outdated,” the report by ex-judge Jasraj Chopra said.

“It would be desirable to provide all this (new plans and incentives) in a special package rather than insert them in already existing schemes.”

The Rajasthan cabinet discussed the report and decided to form another panel, headed by BJP leader Ramdas Agarwal, to work out the package. The new panel’s report is expected by March.

The rejection of the ST demand has upset the Gujjars. Many community leaders told BJP chief Rajnath Singh in Delhi that the Chopra committee had let them down.

Sachin Pilot, the Gujjar Congress MP from Dausa, said: “The report is disappointing and an eyewash to fool the community. What special package are they talking about? They are only buying time till the elections.”

He accused the Raje regime of reneging on its election pledge and provoking the Meenas, whose share of the quota would fall if the ST demand was accepted, against the Gujjars.

Roop Singh, spokesperson for the Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, was furious. “Committees after committees are being formed to look into our demands. Is the Gujjar community some sort of a football that we are being thrown from one committee to another?”

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