The quota stir, started by Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, continued to affect the railway traffic on Delhi-Mumbai route as protestors stage dharna on tracks demanding five per cent reservation in state jobs and educational institutions.
According to news agency ANI, four trains diverted and 14 cancelled between Sawai Madhopur to Bayana section-Nimoda to Malarna block section in Kota Division of Western Central Railway due to the ongoing reservation movement.
The Gujjar agitation has affected the smooth running of trains on West Central Railway route. Railway officials confirmed that routes of several trains were changed due to the ongoing agitation. A total of 25 trains have either been partially cancelled or their routes were diverted. Agra Fort train has been cancelled, Mathura-Sawai Madhupur passenger train, Shatabdi Express and Ratlam Mathura Memu have been partially cancelled.
Bainsla has threatened to expand the blockade to the Tonk-Niwai route followed by blockades on the Ajmer-Bhilwara and Hadoti-Shekhawati rail routes, an agency report said, adding that he has asked his fellow protestors to remain disciplined and avoid damage to the railway tracks, electric poles and other property.
"We want five per cent reservation for our community, the way the Centre has given 10 per cent to the economically backward classes. The government did not respond to our demand, neither did anyone come to talk to us, so we were forced to take this step," the Gujjar leader told IANS.
Bainsla last month gave a 20-day "ultimatum" to the state government to clear its stand on reservation to the communities in government jobs and educational institutes, failing which he threatened of reviving the quota agitation. As the deadline lapsed Friday, Bainsla after holding a 'Maha Panchayat' at Malarna Dungar in Sawai Madhopur district, started the sit-in along with his supporters, blocking trains.
Meanwhile, the state Human Rights Commission on Friday issued a notice to the state government and the police administration directing the officials concerned to inform them the steps being taken to preserve the people's rights by the stir proposed for February 11 at 12.30 pm.
The Commission also made an interim recommendation to the state government to protect the human rights of rail and road commuters travelling through this route.
The order signed by Justice Prakash Tatiya, Commission's President and Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma also questioned why and how this protest since last 13 years has been coming on railway tracks, adding that the plight of passengers can be gauged from the fact that 25 trains have been partially cancelled or their routes changed.
The Commission, in this case, wants to know how many cases have been registered against the accused for staging protest on railway tracks, how many challans have been presented and how many cases have been withdrawn to date due to protests.
The protestors are demanding five per cent separate reservation to Gujjars, Raika-Rebari, Gadia Luhar, Banjara and Gadaria for government jobs and admission in educational institutions.
Currently, these communities are getting one per cent separate reservation under the legal limit of 50 per cent under the most-backward category in addition to OBC reservation.
(With inputs from agencies)