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India tribe talks with officials

Gujjars with bodies of dead protesters
At least 39 people have died in the protests

The government of the Indian state of Rajasthan and the leaders of the Gujjar community are holding talks to end more than two weeks of Gujjar protests.

The Gujjars are demanding to be officially listed as a tribe qualifying for government jobs and reserved places in educational institutions.

More than 40 Gujjars have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and the security forces in Rajasthan.

The Gujjars are a politically influential tribe in north India.

They say they want to be placed on an official list of disadvantaged tribal groups that benefit from preferential recruitment to government jobs and educational institutions.

Refused

Tight security arrangements have been made for the talks which are being held in the eastern town of Bayana.

The government team comprises Minister for Mines Lakshmi Narayan Dave and Minister for Irrigation Sanwarlal Jat.

The Gujjars are represented by 37 of their leaders.

The talks are being held in Bayana because the Gujjar leadership refused to travel to the state capital, Jaipur.

The Gujjars are sitting on a protest about nine miles (15kms) from the venue of the talks.

In the past two weeks, more than 40 Gujjars have died in clashes with the police.

Alleging that the protesters were shot dead by police, they refused to hand over the bodies for post-mortem.

Last week, they relented and allowed doctors to visit the site of the protest and carry out the post-mortems on the bodies.

Gujjar demonstrators also disrupted rail services between Rajasthan's capital Jaipur and Delhi.

Last month, the Rajasthan government announced an aid package worth $60m (30m) for the community but this was rejected.




SEE ALSO
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Why the Gujjars are so aggrieved
31 May 07 |  South Asia
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05 Dec 06 |  South Asia

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