NEW DELHI Haryana chief minister on Saturday called on demonstrators demanding jobs and education to call off rioting which has spread to several towns in recent days and which has killed at least one person.
Protesters in Haryana belonging to the Jats, a rural caste, attacked the homes of regional ministers, burned railway stations and blocked tracks.
The authorities deployed troops and helicopters, jammed mobile internet and messaging services, imposed a curfew in some districts and blocked roads as the protests reached the capital New Delhi.
On Friday, one man was shot dead by Border Security Force in the town of Rohtak after opening fire with a home-made gun, the state's police chief said.
The protests echoed a similar movement last year in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state of Gujarat, where the Patel community demanded that it get a greater share of scarce government jobs and college places that are now reserved for people from lower castes.
Hardik Patel, the 22-year-old leader of the Gujarat unrest, became a national sensation after drawing half a million people to one rally. The authorities soon cracked down and he was held and charged with sedition in October.
Both the Jats and Patels rank fairly highly in India's social hierarchy, but fast population growth and a lack of jobs is fueling discontent among them. Both Haryana and Gujarat are run by Modi's nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"The incident of violence in certain parts of Haryana is very unfortunate. In a democracy solution to any problem lies in discussion and dialogue," Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.
"I appeal to my brothers and sisters of Haryana to maintain peace and order in the state."
(Reporting by Reuters Television and Adnan Abidi; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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Published Date: Feb 20, 2016 06:17 pm | Updated Date: Feb 20, 2016 06:17 pm