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Gujjars demanding ST status clash with cops, 5 killed

Gujjars demanding ST status clash with cops, 5 killed

Police opened fire after agitated protestors clashed with them.

Bharatpur: Five persons, including a policeman, were on Friday killed in police firing and violence during protests by Gujjars demanding scheduled tribe status in Rajasthan's Bharatpur district.

Police opened fire after agitated protesters clashed with them and torched two police jeeps in Karwar area in Bayana block of the district neighbouring Jaipur, officials said. One policeman was killed in the violence.

The mob pelted stones and tried to damage the track between Dumariya and Karwar railway stations and did not disperse even after police lobbed teargas shells, Principal Home Secretary V S Singh said in Jaipur.

Today's trouble comes a week ahead of the first anniversary of the police firing on Gujjar agitators in the state and subsequent violence that claimed 26 lives.

The clashes broke out as protesters gathered this morning at Dumariya near here in support of a rail roko call given by Rajasthan Gurjar Arakashan Sangarsh Samiti leader Kirori Singh Bainsla.

Unconfirmed reports said that the agitators also fired at police and toll in the violence was higher.

Rajasthan Home Minister G C Kataria said the state may seek army assistance if the situation worsens.

The bodies of those killed have been taken to the Bayana Hospital, police sources said, adding that there were reports of tension in several villages in the Bayana block following the violence.

Bainsla, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by district authorities in Karauli, has gone into hiding, they said. Arrest warrants have also been issued against five of his associates.

A group of Gujjar youths had also attempted to stop traffic by putting up blockades on the Jaipur-Bikaner highway near Sikar, about 250 kms from here, police said, adding that the youths were dispersed and the blockades removed.

Official sources said authorities have promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in Bharatpur, Dausa, Karauli and Sawaimadhopur districts.

About 3,000 security personnel, including 400 of the RAF, have been deployed in the four districts dominated by the Gujjar community, the sources said.

During the violence in Bayana, agitators also tried to burn wooden rail sleepers, the sources said. However, train services were normal in the Kota-Delhi track via Bharatpur and other sections, officials of the North-Central Railway at Kota said.
first published:May 23, 2008, 15:40 IST