Gurjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, who led agitations in Rajasthan to demand reservation for the caste in government jobs, died on Thursday at the age of 81.
His son, Vijay Bainsla, confirmed the demise of the Gurjar leader. He said that his father passed away following a prolonged illness in the early hours of the day at a Jaipur hospital.
The protest marches organised by Kirori Singh Bainsla at times led to violent clashes with civil authorities and were accompanied by extensive property damage.
In 2007, as many as 27 people were killed in clashes with police during a protest led by Kirori Singh Bainsla. Similarly in May 2008, a total of 43 people had died in such clashes, of which most were protesters. The Gurjar leader had blamed the police for the violence and loss of lives during the agitation.
Leading the 'Gurjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti', Kirori Singh Bainsla gave the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan an ultimatum in 2020 to accept their demands, including reservation in jobs and education, by creating a category of "most backward class" (MBC) for the caste, or face large-scale agitation.
In February 2019, he had given a call for 'rasta-roko' dharna on railway tracks across Rajasthan, demanding five per cent reservation for Gurjars.
The nine-day protest ended after a bill was passed in the state Assembly, earmarking five per cent reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions.
On October 26, 2018, the Rajasthan government passed a bill that increased the 'Other Backward Classes (OBC)' quota from 21 per cent to 26 per cent. In December 2018, the Rajasthan government also approved one per cent reservation for Gurjars and four 'Other Backward Castes (OBCs)'.
These communities are getting one per cent separate quota within the limit of 50 per cent reservation.
Born in Mundia village of Karauli district of Rajasthan, Kirori Singh Bainsla was a teacher, but following the footsteps of his father, he soon joined the Indian Army.
Recruited in the Rajputana Rifles, Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla had fought in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pakistani war.
A prominent face of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Gurjar vote bank in the state, Kirori Singh Bainsla, and his son had joined the party in 2019, after being actively involved in the movement for over 14 years.