ND: Gujjar leader threatens to relaunch agitation

Published: Saturday, June 16, 2007, 12:08 [IST]

New Delhi, June 16: Gujjar Leader Col Kirori Singh Bhainsla, who had led the week-long violent agitation in Rajasthan demanding ST status for his community early this month, threatened to re-launch the movement 'with total vigour' if Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje tried to ''play politics'' with him.

''The movement is a 'do-or-die' struggle. It doesn't matter that more lives could be lost in the struggle to achieve reservation for Gujjars. This is a fight to the end for justice,'' Col Bhainsla, who had called off the agitation after negotiations with the Chief Minister, said yesterday in an interview to be telecast on CNN-IBN private TV channel under programme head 'Devil's Advocate' tomorrow.

The Gujjar leader, however, maintained that he had full trust in Vasundhara Raje and her assurance to the community.

Accepting the challenge posed by Meenas to counter the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan, Col Bhainsla said the Meenas had ''stabbed him in the back''. ''I am prepared for a caste war with the Meenas if that is the outcome. I am prepared for a further loss of lives,'' he asserted, expressing his anger over the behaviour of the Meenas during the Gujjar agitation.

He said he was not worried over his criticism within the Gujjar community. ''I will explain to them at the Mahapanchayat meet on June 24 what were the options before me for negotiations with Ms Raje and I am sure I will get hundred per cent support from my community.'' He said it was a slip of tongue on his part when he announced before talks with Ms Raje that he would withdraw the agitation even if she did not agree to their terms. He would explain the point to them and was very confident that the Gujjars would not hold anything against him, he added.

Asked if the three-member committee appointed by the Rajasthan Government advised against giving ST status to Gujjars, Col Bhainsla, without mincing words, said they would relaunch their struggle.

To a question, he clarified that he had no ambition to join politics and he would not allow the Gujjar community ''to push him into politics''.

UNI

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