One of the worst fears came true for Haryana when the agitation of Jat community for caste-based reservations turned violent on Thursday. Rohtak, which is the epicentre of agitation, is going through a tense phase, especially after one person died and at least nine others were injured after police opened fire on the protesters near Rohtak.
Tricky Situation for BJP
The fear of Jat agitation has returned to haunt the BJP government. It’s worth mentioning that the incumbent government doesn’t have a Jat leader as its head. The authority hasn’t succeeded much in pacifyingthe agitated community that has taken to the streets and railway tracks across Haryana. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is a worried man as the Jat leaders have rejected his offer of enhancing quota for the Economically Backward Classes from 10 to 20 per cent and including Jats in the quota. As the four-hour-long meeting between the CM and community leaders failed to break the deadlock, the protests spread to other districts – Kaithal, Karnal and Jind.
What do the Jats Demand?
The Jat community, which is considered the ‘Kingmaker’ in the state, demands a caste-based reservation. The members of the community are not willing to share their quota with any other caste, that too with four other castes, as the government has proposed. They are sticking to their demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutes under the OBC category. If their threats are considered true, they are not going to withdraw their agitation till a legislation is passed.
Normal Life Disrupted
The protesters have not only blocked various highways and railway lines but some of them have also pelted stones and torched vehicles. Additional paramilitary personnel have been sent to Rohtak and adjacent districts such as Sonepat and Jhajjar. While mobile internet services have been blocked in Rohtak for an indefinite period of time, the government has imposed Section 144 of CrPC in the district to prevent further deterioration in law and order situation.
Jat protests in Haryana turn violent, army called in
One person was killed in police action as the Jat protests for reservations turned violent. As per media reports, the army was called in for deployment in eight districts of the Haryana state as mobs went on a rampage setting ablaze the state finance minister’s house and many other government and private properties. Some police personnel were also taken captive by the protestors. In many places, including Rohtak, Hansi and Jhajjar, the targeted private and police vehicles, buildings housing offices and two toll plazas at Hansi in Hissar.
Recent Developments on Jat Agitation
- At least three protesters were killed since Thursday and shoot-at-sight orders were issued on Friday in Rohtak and Bhiwani. These two are the worst affected districts in Haryana.
- The army had to use helicopters to reach police lines in Rohtak on Saturday as the members of Jat community continued their agitation.
- Agitators have reportedly set the Bhuda Khera Railway station in Jind on fire and blocked roads and highway in Bahadurgarh.
- On Friday evening, protesters attacked the residence of a BJP MP Raj Kumar Saini and pelted stones.
What Happened on 20 February?
- The Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said that the government has agreed to the demands of caste-based reservation for Jat community. He appealed to the people to stop the protests because nothing will be gained by destroying property.
- Meanwhile, Union Minister Sanjeev Baliyan appealed to protesters to return to their homes and maintain peace.
- The agitation has reportedly spread to Gurgaon as protesters blocked all major intersections and roads, which brought the city to a halt.
- The agitation over reservations also reached the national capital as Delhi University students from Jat community protested on the North Campus.
- Meanwhile, curfew has been imposed in five towns in Haryana: Sonipat, Gohana, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Jhajjar.
- The common man continued to suffer as Haryana remained almost cut-off from the rest of the country. More than 800 trains remained affected with agitators setting seven railway stations on fire.
- The Haryana government deployed 33 units of the Army in nine districts
What Happened on 21 February?
- The national capital was hit by a serious water crisis due to Jat reservation protests in Haryana. In lieu of this crisis, the Delhi government declared that all schools and government offices will remain closed on Monday.
- The OBC quota bill will be brought in the Haryana Assembly as discussed during a high-level meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Jat leaders, National security Advisor, Army Chief and Delhi Police Commissioner.
- The Jat agitation has already claimed 12 lives and more than 150 people have been seriously injured in violence.
- Pakistan today suspended the Lahore-Delhi Dosti bus service indefinitely. As per media reports, the bus service was suspended on India’s request following the violence during the Jat agitation in Haryana. Col (retired) Khalid, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation Manager, said the bus service will resume after the Indian government gives clearance.
What Happened on 22 February?
- Haryana has suffered a loss of around Rs 20,000 crore due to the destrcution of public and private property during the Jat agitation. According to industry body Assocham, collateral damage has been done to businesses and industries in Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal spoke to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the urgent need for restoring water supply to Delhi as the city is facing “a very serious water crisis” because of Jat protests.
- Meanwhile, the Army and CRPF took control of Munak Canal in Haryana on Monday and started doing the repair work to restore water supply.
What Happened on 23 February?
- The Jat agitation in Haryana revived on Monday with three more civilians dying when stone-pelting mobs attacked security personnel who trying to clear a road blockade in Sonepat. The death toll rose to 19.
- The Jat agitation issue is likely to be discussed at the BJP Parliamentary Party executive meeting scheduled for today at 05:30 p.m.
- While the Delhi-Chandigarh Highway is open now, water supply has been partially restored in some parts of the north and central Delhi. As the Munak canal has witnessed extensive damage, it would take two weeks for fully restoring Delhi’s water supply.
What Happened on 24 February?
In a striking revelation, it has come to the fore that the agitation over caste-based reservation turned into inter-caste violence with the media reports revealing that four non-Jats were killed in the agitation and shops were burnt according to the caste of the owners.
Jats set to resume stir as 72-hour ultimatum ends today
The Jat leaders had provided a 72-hour ultimatum to the BJP-led Haryana government to meet their demands by 17 March. With the deadline ending today, the government has sought paramilitary forces from the Centre, which would be deployed in specific areas. Earlier, the Haryana Police had been criticised for its failure in preventing and controlling violence during the Jat agitation that took place in February and left 30 people dead.
28 March: Haryana Cabinet clears Jat Reservation Draft Bill
The Haryana Cabinet gave its nod to the bill providing reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to Jats and four other castes. This draft reservation bill has proposed six per cent reservation for Jats and four other castes in Class-I and II government jobs in addition to a 10 per cent reservation for five castes in educational institutions and Class III and IV government jobs.
Explore More :
Reservation in India – Do we Still Need it
Kapus Protest in Andhra Pradesh
Patel community and the ‘Quota’ row
Reservations in India: Social Justice vs Meritocracy
Are we ignoring talent in the name of quota?
Why is violent behaviour increasing in society?
Problems faced by youth in India
5% Quota to Gujjars of Rajasthan
Democracy in India success or failure?