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Indian state approves five percent quota for agrarian group amid protests

Published: February 13, 2019

STORY: India’s northwestern Rajasthan state’s legislative assembly on Wednesday (February 13) passed a bill, approving a five percent reservation in jobs and educational institutes to the agrarian ‘Gujjar’ community amid their ongoing agitation against the state government.

The Backward Classes Amendment Bill which was passed in the assembly seeks to raise the one percent reservation to five per cent for castes listed in Special Backward Castes (SBC), which includes the ‘Gujjar’ community.

The Gujjars have been sitting inside makeshift tents on railway tracks in Sawai Madhopur region

of Rajasthan demanding reservation. Train services have also been severely affected by the protest. Sporadic instances of violence have been also recorded in parts of the state.

Leader of Gujjar movement, Kirori Singh Bainsla said, he was happy that the Bill had been passed but also added that the community will go through and analyse the bill before taking any decisions regarding withdrawing of protests.

The Gujjars, already considered a disadvantaged group, want to be reclassified further down the complex Hindu caste and status system so they qualify for government jobs and university seats reserved for such groups.

India’s government reserves about half of all seats in state colleges and universities for lower castes and tribal groups to flatten centuries-old social hierarchies, in what has been called the world’s biggest affirmative action scheme.

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