Gurjjar quota hot potato is passed on to Law Ministry
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With the Vasundhara Raje government passing the buck to the Centre on the Gurjjar demand for ST status, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Law Minister H R Bhardwaj to discuss the matter.
Following Raje's latest letter to the PM, wherein she reiterated her earlier stance of seeking a separate category for Gurjjars, over and above the existing quotas, and giving them 4 to 6 per cent reservation, the Prime Minister's Office decided to refer the matter to the Law Ministry to examine such a possibility.
Today's meeting also saw a general appreciation of the fact that politics aside, the trouble in Rajasthan may not remain confined there and may spread to other states, including those ruled by the Congress, if not handled properly.
However, facts remain that at no point since the protests over the issue first broke out in May 2007 did Rajasthan come close to recommending ST status for Gurjjars — despite the fact that this is the first step in granting a community the same.
"We take cognisance when a state government specifically recommends the inclusion of a particular community in the ST list. In this case, no such recommendation was made by the Rajasthan government," Tribal Affairs Minister P R Kyndiah told The Indian Express today. "The Rajasthan government needs to apply itself and concretise the recommendations made by the Chopra Committee in order to work out a solution which is acceptable to all."
In her letter to the Minister's Office, dated January 17, 2008, accessed by The Indian Express, Raje wrote that the Union Government should immediately bring in the necessary constitutional amendment so as "to make separate provisions for reservation for Gurjjars, Gadia Lohar, Banjaras etc by treating them as a special category akin to nomadic tribes, other than the existing categories of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes for providing 4 to 6 per cent reservation in their favour".
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