crowds facing each other with weapons of all kinds, barricades,
fires, and thousands of soldiers sent to lend aid to the police, in
the attempt to stop to the violence. This, for the last four days,
has been the situation in the north-western Indian state of
Rajasthan, where at least 23 people died and hundreds were wounded in
fights between the protesters of the Gujjar tribe on one side, and
the police and the Meena tribe on the other. Riots initially were
located only in Dausa area, but they have now spread to the whole
state and towards the east, close to Agra –where the famous
Taj-Mahal is located- and New Delhi.
Gujjars looking for “tribal quotas”.
Violence was triggered by the
killing, on Tuesday, of several protesters by the police, who opened
fire on a crowd of protesters tblocking the road between Dausa and
the Taj-Mahal, run by thousands of tourists every day.
was the umpteenth demonstration of the Gujjar, who, since September,
have been fighting the state government of Rajasthan, who had
definitively rejected the possibility of including their tribe in the
list of the “recognized” ones. That status would allow the Gujjar
to benefit from reliefs guaranteed by the Indian law on equal
opportunities, which ensures “tribal quotas” for accessing
government jobs and posts in schools and public universities.
Meenas want to keep them.
Today in Rajasthan
only those belonging to the Meena tribe benefit from them. Their
extension to the Gujjar would mean sharing the quotas, substantially
decreasing the benefits due to the Meena. Hence their decision to go
out into the streets to oppose the Gujjar protesters and to send a
warning to the government:” If the quotas are extended to the
Gujjar, we will rise up”. As a result, Rajasthan is on the brink of
a tribal war, with state government stuck into a dead end: if it
doesn’t meet demands from the Gujjar, they will continue the
revolt; if they do, the Meena will rise up instead.