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Twenty-three dead and hundreds wounded in clashes for “tribal quotas”
ClashesEnraged 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.
 
MapGujjars 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.
It 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.

 
 
RiotsBut 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. 
 
Enrico Piovesana
Keywords: india, rajasthan
Topic: Human Rights, People
Area: India