Gujjar agitation: 44 trains to be cancelled, 98 to be diverted on Delhi-Mumbai route

Nw Delhi(dna): As many as 44 trains would be cancelled and 11 would be diverted on the Mumbai-New Delhi route on Wednesday following protests by Gujjars at Pilupura, around 80 km from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

The Gujjars, who have been demanding 5% reservation in state government jobs, have been sitting on a dharna, blocking the Mumbai-New Delhi railway route since last Thursday.

Railways spokesperson Anil Saxena said, “Since the onset of the agitation, till Tuesday, 164 trains, including the Rajdhani Express and Garib Rath, have been cancelled and 109 trains have been diverted.

If the deadlock continues even on Wednesday, 44 trains would be cancelled while 98 trains have to be diverted. Besides, nine trains would be partially cancelled.”

A senior railway official said on condition of anonymity: “The stir is causing huge losses to railways. Till Tuesday, we lost over Rs 80 crore. This includes Rs 20 crore due to cancellation of passenger trains and Rs 60 crore from goods train.”

Even at a temperature of over 43 degrees Celsius, the railway track near Pilupura was blocked by a small shed made across one of the two tracks that can accommodate 10-15 people.

Over 500 men from the Gujjar community guard the tracks day and night, in shifts. Food comes thrice a day in tractor trolleys and hundreds of Gujjars claim that they have not visited their homes since Thursday.

The protesters say the issue would be resolved only if the Rajasthan government comes up with a concrete plan on reservation guidelines/notifications.

“It is a do-or-die situation,” says youth leader Bharat Gujjar, who has been guarding the rail track from Day 1, along with his leader Kirori Singh Bainsla.

Talking to dna, Bharat said, “Our demand is very simple. We want 5% reservation in government jobs. The Vasundhara Raje government, during its last tenure, had promised it and so had the Gehlot government, but none of them kept their word. Our agitation is going on since 2006. Now, we want results.”

He said that the Gujjars have no intention of causing public inconvenience but there is no other way they can make the government hear their voices. Pilipura is a Gujjar stronghold and over 80 villages belong to the community.

Says Papu Gujjar: “I am here since Day 1 and would remain here till our demands are met. Our community is so backward that, till today, not even a single IAS officer has been recruited. Our kids are capable but other communities play the reservation card and get the jobs and we are left behind. We want to give a better future to our kids and that is why we are fighting in such inhuman weather conditions.”