As the opposition in State and Centre are squarely blaming Raje government of Rajasthan for the current unrest over Gujjar demand for Scheduled Tribe status, ‘vote-bank politics’ cannot be ruled out behind the past and present agitation. What the political parties are trying to do is to gain as much from the present strife that has so far claimed 50 lives and injured scores. But is it really legitimate on the part of gujjar leaders to protest in such a violent manner? Besides all those reasons that Raje promised, meenas are taking undue advantages of reservation, and blah-blah, as you can read in an article from Shail Mayaram (Professor and Senior Fellow Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi), we have some other issues to be addressed. Let us find out why gujjars do not deserve reservation.
- Gujjars are not tribe in anyway. Neither by definition nor by status. They have been a royal clan of India in medieval time when Gujjar-Pratihar clan was a ruler of a large part of northern India. There were many small kingdoms of gujjars even until late 18th century. Some gujjars migrated to Kashmir and were not allowed to have same social status as their counterpart in Rajsthan and Haryana regions. They indeed qualify for a scheduled tribe status and were given the same (The Gujjars and the Bakarwals-a sub caste of gujjars in Jammu and Kashmir were notified as the Scheduled Tribes vide the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1991.According to the 2001 Census of India, Gujjar is the most populous scheduled tribe in J&K, having a population of 763,806. Around 99.3 per cent population of Gujjar and Bakarwal in J&K follow Islam.). This gave a reason to protest to gujjars in Rajsthan, who were in no way a tribe and always considered as kshatriyas.
- Gujjar leaders keep giving example of meena tribe. Though giving reservation to meenas is a mistake in itself as they were also very prosperous group in Rajsthan, but they at least were a tribe till independence. Meenas were living mainly in confined areas of Rajsthan . On the other hand gujjars are a nationwide caste. They are in Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajsthan, Maharashtra, Asaam, MP, Jharkhand etc. They are not tribe, they are caste and they have OBC status already. So just because jats got the OBC reservation and competition increased in OBC category, demanding for SC status is highly outrageous.
- Gujjar leaders are provoking the people to harm national property and still claiming that they are doing Satyagraha is making their moral ground very weak. Do protests, burn effigy of Raje or whatever, it is a democratic country, but restoring to violence is unacceptable. In this way leaders of gujjar caste are only responsible for the death of innocent gujjars. This can trigger of a very unusual situation. Many other castes can start such violent protest for illegitimate demands. I am waiting to see the response of our dear Arjun Singh on this.
At the heart of the Gujjar protests is a critique of a model of economic growth that has not trickled down. But means should be as good as your demand and if even your demand is not truthful then you are doing a unlawful act and it should be treated like that.