Train and road transport were partially restored in a northwestern Indian state after four days of violent clashes among police and two lower castes left at least 23 dead, officials said yesterday.
With a large number of army and paramilitary forces in place, authorities restored train and road services between New Delhi and Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan State, bringing relief to thousands of people stranded for days in the state, a major tourist destination, said V.S. Singh, the state home commissioner.
The protests have also disrupted transport to Agra, site of the Taj Mahal.
Members of the Gujjar caste protested on Friday in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, disrupting train and road traffic there, the CNN-IBN television news channel reported. Details were not immediately available.
No new violence was reported in Rajasthan after four people were killed on Friday in clashes between the Meena caste and the rival Gujjar caste in Lalsot village in Dausa district, despite warnings that police would shoot protesters on sight, Singh said.
The Gujjars have been staging violent protests since Tuesday, demanding their caste's official classification at the bottom of India's complex social ladder to receive government jobs and university spots reserved for such groups.
The Meena caste, which already receives the benefits, is opposed to sharing them with the Gujjars.
On Friday, B.R. Gwala, an inspector-general of police, said the two communities were trying to mobilize supporters in their strongholds.
"However, the overall situation in the state is under control," he said.
Top leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which governs Rajasthan, met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Indian capital yesterday and discussed the situation in the state.
Details of the discussion were not immediately available.
Dausa, about 120km from Jaipur, has seen most of the violence, including repeated attacks on government offices, railroad stations, and vehicles, said B.L. Arya, the state's deputy home secretary.
Gujjar protesters and police have also clashed in many places, resulting in the deaths of at least two policemen and 17 demonstrators. The protests have spread to neighboring Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi states.
Although India officially banned caste discrimination decades ago, lower social groups such as the Gujjar, who are traditionally farmers and shepherds in northwestern India, still face widespread disadvantages.
In an attempt to right historical wrongs, India's federal and state governments have over the past decades established quotas for lower caste groups to ensure they get government jobs and university spots.
Gujjars are already classified as one of India's thousands of "Other Backward Classes," which gives them some preferential treatment. However, they want to be redefined as a "Scheduled Tribe," an even lower classification that would open up more opportunities.
BEIJING BAILOUT: Pyongyang’s economic woes would not lead to famine because China will not let that happen due to its fear of a pro-US unified Korea, experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for another “arduous march” to fight severe economic difficulties, for the first time comparing them to a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands. Kim had previously said his nation faces its “worst-ever” situation due to several factors — including the COVID-19 pandemic, US-led sanctions and natural disasters in the summer last year — but it is the first time he has publicly drawn a parallel with the deadly famine. North Korea monitoring groups have not detected any signs of mass starvation or a humanitarian disaster, but Kim’s comments still suggest how seriously he views
SUBMERGED 6,500M: The 115m-long ship was sunk on Oct. 25, 1944, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf as the US fought to recover the Philippines from Japanese occupation A US Navy destroyer sunk during World War II and lying nearly 6,500m below sea level off the coast of the Philippines has been reached in the world’s deepest shipwreck dive, a US exploration team said. A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the wreckage of the USS Johnston off the coast of Samar Island during two eight-hour dives completed late last month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said. The 115m-long ship was sunk on Oct. 25, 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf as US forces fought to recover the Philippines, then a US colony, from Japanese occupation. Its location in
‘VOSTOK 1’: The first flight attempt is planned to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the first space flight by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has survived its first night alone on the frigid surface of Mars, the US space agency said, hailing it as “a major milestone” for the tiny craft as it prepares for its first flight. The ultra-light aircraft was dropped on the surface on Saturday after detaching from the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on Feb. 18. Detached from the Perseverance, Ingenuity had to rely on its own solar-powered battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night, where temperatures can plunge as low as
LOSING CONTROL? Fitch Solutions said that a revolution pitting the military against the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias was likely due to the rising violence Burmese security forces yesterday arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against a military coup, his sister told reporters, as people placed shoes filled with flowers in parts of Yangon to commemorate dead protesters. Troops on Wednesday opened fire on protesters, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, protesters and media said. Nearly 600 civilians have been killed by security forces since the junta in February seized power from the elected government of Aung San Su Kyi, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said on Wednesday. The advocacy group said that 2,847 were being held in detention. A spokesman