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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
More killed in Rajasthan violence
By Narayan Bareth
BBC News, Jaipur

A police station in Rajasthan on fire after protests by Gujjars
The violence has spread all over the state
At least five more people have died in violent clashes between two tribal groups in India's Rajasthan state.

Police say 17 people have also been injured as members of the nomadic Gujjar tribe fought pitched battles with Meena tribals in Dausa district.

So far, 23 people have died in the last four days of violence in the state.

Meenas are opposed to the Gujjar's demand to be included in an affirmative action plan which will give them access to government jobs and other benefits.

Shoot orders

Police in Jaipur said Meenas attacked Gujjar protesters who were blocking a road in Dausa.

Both sides, numbering in thousands, fought with bamboo sticks and pelted each other with stones.

Officials said five people died, but eyewitnesses from the area said at least nine people were killed.

Reports from the area said the fighting went on for close to an hour.

Almost all the dead are reported to be Gujjars.

The local police, sorely outnumbered by the protesters, did not intervene and eyewitnesses say the fighting ended only after the Gujjars retreated.

Earlier a shoot-on-sight order was enforced in two districts of Rajasthan and thousands of soldiers have been deployed across the state.


On Thursday, four people were killed as Gujjar tribals clashed with police in Sawai Madhopur.

The violence has now spread to areas outside of Rajasthan.

The trouble started on Tuesday in the state's Dausa district when police fired on Gujjar protesters who had blocked the main road connecting the city of Jaipur with the tourist destination of Agra where the Taj Mahal is located.

Unrest spreading

Trouble has now spilled out of Rajasthan into other states.

In Faridabad town, on the outskirts of the Indian capital Delhi, police fired in the air to disperse a group of angry Gujjar protesters who were blocking traffic and burning effigies.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil has appealed to the people to remain calm and maintain peace.

Over the last few days, properties and vehicles have been vandalised across the state and a strike call by protesters had shut several towns.

Train services across the state have been disrupted, with protesters uprooting rail tracks in many places.

Bus services to the state from the Indian capital, Delhi, have been cancelled.

The first two round of talks between the state government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and leaders of the Gujjars have failed to break the deadlock and the two sides are due to resume their dialogue again later on Friday.


The Gujjars - a large and politically-influential nomadic tribe spread across north India - want to be categorised as an official tribe so that they may benefit from affirmative action quotas which will give them access to government jobs as well as places in state-supported schools and colleges.

Gujjar protesters blocking a road with six bodies of their dead
The protesters are refusing to cremate their dead

If the government accedes to their demand, it falls foul of the Meena tribe which is already in the official tribes list and at present corners most of the benefits which Meenas do not want to share with the Gujjars.

The government is now in a catch-22 situation.

If they accede to the Gujjars' demands, the Meenas threaten to launch protests.

If they refuse the Gujjars' demands, the protesters threaten to escalate their action.

The issue of affirmative action is a sensitive one in India, with many poor communities arguing that it is the only way millions of under-privileged people can benefit from India's economic boom.

But those opposed to it say it is a cynical move by politicians to gain more votes from politically influential communities who make up a large percentage of the country's population.

Violent scenes in India's Rajasthan state

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