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Situation Tense in Rajasthan's Dungarpur as Govt Approaches Protesters

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

The protesters are demanding that 1,167 vacant general quota seats be filled from the Scheduled Tribes category.

Jaipur: The situation remained tense in Rajasthan's Dungarpur as candidates of a teacher recruitment exam confronted police and indulged in arson while a delegation of theirs met Tribal Area Development Minister Arjun Singh Bamniya in Udaipur on Saturday. The authorities on Friday had imposed prohibitory orders besides suspending mobile Internet services in Dungarpur district following a violent protest by the candidates of the 2018 recruitment exam. The protesters are demanding that 1,167 vacant general quota seats be filled from the Scheduled Tribes category.

On Saturday, Governor Kalraj Mishra spoke to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot over the phone to discuss the situation. Mishra called Principal Secretary (Home) Abhay Kumar and ADG (Law and Order) Saurabh Srivastava at the Raj Bhawan, directing them to control the situation, according to release. On directions of the chief minister, Tribal Area Development Minister Arjun Singh Bamniya and other public representatives from the district held a meeting with a delegation of the agitators.

The meeting, held at the residence of former Udaipur MP and Congress leader Raghuveer Meena, lasted for nearly three hours. We have appealed to the agitators to end the violence while assuring them that the government will do what is legitimate to meet their demand, Meena told PTI. Besides Bamniya, Bhartiya Tribal Party (BTP) MLAs Rajkumar Roat and Ramprasad, Congress legislator Ganesh Ghogra, former MP Tarachand Bhagora and some advocates were present in the meeting.

BTP MLA Roat claimed that police and administration targeted local villagers, arresting them, which intensified the violence.

Now, it has become villagers verses police and administration there, Roat said. He said the government's priority is to control the situation first. After the meeting, Roat and Meena left for Kherwara in Dungarpur to convince the agitators. Meanwhile, fresh incidents of stone pelting and arson took place on the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway, which has been blocked by the protesters. The police control room said two bikes were torched and the protesters indulged in stone pelting.

The agitators confronted police again on the highway in Dungarpur. The violence had erupted on Thursday with the protesters blocking the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway. They pelted police with stones, torched vehicles and damaging property. The violence continued on Friday and Saturday. Udaipur Range IG Binita Thakur said additional police force has been deployed in the area. Another police official said nearly 25 km of the highway is blocked.

The highway is blocked from Ratanpur to Khariwara. Once the situation is under control, traffic will be resumed, he said. According to officials, the protesters have torched nearly 25 vehicles besides vandalising a petrol pump, hotel and other properties since Thursday. The vehicle of the Dungarpur SP was also torched on Thursday. Thirty-five policemen, including an ASP and DSP, were injured in stone pelting on Thursday. Police have so far arrested 30 persons in connection of the violence. Earlier, Chief Minister Gehlot had appealed to the protesters to stop violence.

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