Gujjar Protests, India
Gujjars, a minority group in Rajasthan, India launched massive protests across the state that led to clashes with police, deaths, and a deadlock with the state government. Invited by the Rajasthan government, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar stepped in as mediator, which led to a successful resolution that ended the violence.
Nerve center of violence
Sri Sri sent several Art of Living teachers to initiate talks with Gujjar leaders who coordinated mass demonstrations across Rajasthan. Thousands of people had gathered to block the main roads and rail tracks, obstructing transportation. The government sent in police who, without warning, fired at unarmed crowds, further straining negotiations. The Gujjar community had been calling for minority status that would qualify them for government jobs and university seats reserved for minorities.
Government invites Sri Sri
The then, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasunda Raje Scindia and other senior political officials met Sri Sri who was invited to mediate by the state government. On the Gujjar side, under the scorching sun, Sri Sri met 50,000 members of the community on the rail tracks of Pilukapura, Rajasthan, including Col. Kirori Singh Bhainsla, who had been leading the protest.
Conflict resolution through dialogue
Although acknowledging that some distrust had been created, Sri Sri impressed on the two sides that only dialogue could bring a solution. Sri Sri urged the Gujjar protestors to lay down their arms and negotiate in a peaceful manner.
“Do not take to arms for that doesn't hold the answer. Instead, we can talk and I feel there will be a solution to your problem soon. We can achieve our rights in a non-violent way.” - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Both parties enter composite dialogue
In a significant breakthrough, apparently due to Sri Sri's dialogue, the Gujjars agreed to continue with a second phase of talks with the government. Both parties soon negotiated an agreement that halted the protests and the violence in the area.