Gujjar jams all over NCR

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters from the Gujjar community burned tyres and blocked roads leading to New Delhi on Thursday, bringing a battle for state jobs and college quotas in which dozens have died closer to the capital.

Huge traffic jams formed on major highways leading into New Delhi, as ethnic Gujjars, demanding access to state jobs and college quotas, shouted slogans and squatted on main roads on the borders of east and north Delhi.

Thirty seven people, including one policeman, have been killed in the protests.

The Gujjars, who threw stones at police and at places broke windshields of cars and buses, are fighting to be reclassified further down India‘s complex Hindu caste and status system to qualify for government jobs and university places reserved for such groups.

Police cleared most blockades after hours of scuffles. Some train services to towns outside Delhi, including several tourist destinations, remained suspended.

Demonstrations turned violent last week after protesters lynched a policeman and police fired on protesters, killing 36 of them in just a few days.

On Thursday morning, the stick-wielding Gujjar protesters turned away vehicles from the towns of Noida and Gurgaon, home to scores of outsourcing and computer software firms.

Many offices were closed. Some telecom firms such as BlackBerry closed their service centres in these suburbs.