The agitation for fair inclusion of Adivasis in teacher recruitment has been continuing for over three days in Dungarpur, Rajasthan. On September 26, protesters surrounded the Kherwara area and began their demonstration, when part of the mob set fire to some houses and hotels. In retaliation the police fired at the mob. A 17 year-old boy named Tarun Ahari was shot dead in the firing, and five other people were injured, Janjwar reported.
The protestors had occupied an area of 20 km, demanding the teacher recruitment of youth from Scheduled Tribe category into the vacant seats of the General category. Protests regarding this issue have been taking place frequently for more than a year. Distressed by widespread unemployment, Adivasi youth have been agitating for a fair chance to be recruited as teachers through the Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers (REET).
Before this, issues have arisen over the government declaring that having the qualifying degree before the test was mandatory in order to be eligible, rendering lakhs of candidates ineligible. Since then, candidates have been troubled by the lack of information and delays in the process.
According to a report by Newsclick, the government has also been under-recruiting when it comes to ST candidates, leaving many reserved seats vacant which are then filled up by General category candidates.
In Rajasthan, certain areas that have been notified as Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) regions have 45% reservations for ST candidates, 5% reservations for SC candidates, and the remaining 50% for general candidates. Only 1554 students from the General category were able to secure the 60 per cent cut off in the examination to qualify for recruitment, and 1167 seats remained vacant in the recruitment process. The ST candidates demanded that those seats be filled up by ST categories who had secured the ST cut-off of 36%. This demand was refused by the High Court.
During the protests this past week, the demonstrators had blocked the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway, and in response, CM Ashok Gehlot had deployed the Rapid Action Force in the area. Many senior officers were also sent from Jaipur to Udaipur via special flights on Saturday night.
An internet blockade and was imposed in the area and Section 144 has been imposed in Dungarpur, Banswara, and Pratapgarh. Reportedly, there has been some chaos caused by outsiders who have entered the protests and are not allowing negotiations to take place between protestors and authorities. Further, some protestors have joined the movement from Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, hence not being able to speak the local language.