New Delhi: The central government on Thursday said it has sent 60 companies of paramilitary forces - approximately 4,500 personnel - to Rajasthan over the past week to help the state deal with the ongoing Gujjar agitation.
"We have sent approximately 4,500 paramilitary personnel over the past one week," a home ministry official told reporters here. "If required, more would be sent."
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan High Court has directed the state government to remove the protesting Gujjars from railway tracks and clear blockades on roads.
Justice R.S. Rathore, while hearing a contempt petition filed against Gujjar leader Kirori Singh Bainsla, asked police to get vacated railway tracks and clear the Jaipur-Agra national highway, saying that it seems the law and order situation has "derailed".
There were reports of huge loss due to interruption in rail and road traffic since the agitation began on May 21.
The Gujjars are demanding, among others, five percent reservation in state government jobs under the special backward class category and that too according to them in the maximum permissible limit of 50 percent reservation.
The agitating Gujjars have been squatting on railway tracks in Pilu Ka Pura near Bayana town since May 21. The agitation has affected the movement of trains, including that on Delhi-Mumbai sector.
At least 208 trains were cancelled and another 109 diverted to other routes on the Kota-Mathura track till Wednesday due to the agitation.
Railways authorities said the track bears the major traffic between south and north zones of the Indian Railways.
Train cancellations and diversions have led to an unprecedented level of cancellation of reservations, revised reservation requests and enquiries, the authorities said.
"It may be noted that since the agitation started, more than 1.9 lakh cancellations are being done daily against 1.1 lakh cancellations being done normally by the IRCTC website," a statement said.
The IRCTC website also reported malfunctioning due to the sudden surge of traffic.
The number of hits between 10 and 11 a.m., which are normally in the range of 10 million, has gone up to 22.3 million since the beginning of the agitation. On May 22, it reached its peak at 30 million.
"IRCTC website is not geared for such abnormal increase of traffic and hence the reported problems," the statement said.