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Rajasthan: Mali, Saini, Kushwaha, and Maurya communities block highway demanding 12% reservation, police use tear gas after stone-pelting

Demanding 12% special reservation in government jobs and educational institutions, people of the Mali, Saini, Kushwaha, and Maurya communities in Rajasthan blocked Jaipur-Agra National Highway in Bharatpur.

On Friday, 21st April 2023, people of the Mali, Saini, Kushwaha, and Maurya communities in Rajasthan blocked the important Jaipur-Agra National Highway in Bharatpur. Demanding 12% special reservation in government employment and educational institutions, these people protested and blocked the roads.

The protesters also threw stones at the police, who responded by using tear gas to disperse the crowd. The communities, which fall under OBC, are now asking for a separate 12% reservation. They had already made it known that on Friday they will hinder the motorway. It is notable that chief minister Ashok Gehlot also belongs to the Mali community.

To prevent the agitators from reaching the main road, the police installed roadblocks on the highway near the villages of Ballabhgarh, Halaina, Vair, Aronda, and Ramaspur. However, some protesters made a ruckus and threw rocks at the police, who then used tear gas to subdue the crowd.

Superintendent of Police Shyam Singh said, “The agitators pelted stones at police following which mild force was used to disperse them. Tear gas was also used.”

In order to stop rumours from propagating, the Bharatpur district administration has shut down internet access for 24 hours in three tehsils. Bharatpur Divisional Commissioner Sanwarmal Verma said, “The protest is continuing. We have suspended internet services in Vair, Nadbai and Bhusavar tehsils for 24 hours.”

Members of the Saini community held a meeting with social justice department officials in Jaipur on Friday. A distinct Luv Kush Welfare Board, a hostel facility for the community’s youngsters, a reserve of 12%, and other demands were made during the meeting, according to an official statement from the Saini community leaders.

The state government has established the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Welfare Board, and April 19 has been designated as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Day, a public holiday, they said. Similar protests were organised by the community in June 2022, but they were put down after certain promises.

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