Chandigarh: The Jat quota agitation in Haryana entered the eighth day on Sunday and remained peaceful, even as the authorities beefed up security in sensitive districts.
Amid elaborate security arrangements, the Jats held dharnas at several areas in the state which remained peaceful, officials said.
The call for the fresh stir has been given by some Jat outfits, especially those owing allegiance to All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti headed by Yashpal Malik.
Haryana's main opposition INLD has openly come out in support of the agitating Jats and asked the government to meet their demands.
However, senior BJP leader and state minister Anil Vij said on Sunday that while Jats were continuing with their dharnas in a peaceful manner, the opposition was unable to digest the same and was trying to flare up the issue to grind their political axe.
During the past couple of days, Yashpal Malik has been addressing the Jats at various dharnas sites.
At a village in Faridabad, Malik said the dharnas in Haryana would continue till the government accepted their
He said Jats were willing to wait for reservation since the matter was sub-judice, but they wanted all other demands to be accepted immediately.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had earlier said that the government accepted the demand of the Jats to give job to the next of kin of those who had lost their lives in the agitation last year. Process has been initiated for the same, Khattar had said.
In the fresh round of the Jat stir, paramilitary forces are out in sensitive areas in Haryana while heavy police force has been deployed to maintain strict vigil, as the stir entered its eighth day.
Security has been further strengthened in many sensitive districts, the officials said.
The security was also tightened at the Rohtak residence of former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
During a similar stir a year ago, there were 30 deaths and widespread destruction of property. This time, Haryana has been put on maximum alert, the officials said.
Notably, Rohtak and some of its neighbouring districts, including Sonipat and Jhajjar, had been worst-hit by the violence which broke out during last year's Jat stir in February.
Yashpal Malik said February 19 would be observed as "Balidan Divas" in memory of all those who lost their lives in last February's agitation which turned violent.
Over the past two days, the number of protesters at various dharna sites, especially in sensitive districts, has been going up.
In Rohtak, the Jats have gathered at Jassia village.
The government is also closely monitoring the situation, the officials said.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has maintained that everyone has the right to hold protest in a peaceful manner, but nobody will be allowed to take law into one's hand.
Haryana's Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Ram Niwas said earlier that the Deputy Commissioners can exercise powers given under the National Security Act, 1980, if required, to deal with the protesters.
However, agitation leader Malik has been strongly critical of any such move.
"...We want to remind the Haryana government that people of Haryana understand the language of love, and coercive methods cannot be used to suppress their voice," Malik said.
Apart from the quota demand, the agitators are demanding release of arrested Jat youths from jails, withdrawal of cases registered during last year's agitation and grant of government jobs to the kin of youths killed and those injured during the earlier stir and action against BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini over his alleged anti-Jat rants.
Haryana Health and Sports Minister Anil Vij slammed the INLD, alleging that its leaders were provoking the Jat community to disturb the peace of Haryana for its political interests.
"This time the INLD has come out openly in support of agitators to disturb law and order situation in the state. INLD had also remained in power in the state, but at that time they ignored the reservation issue," Vij told reporters in Ambala today.
He alleged that "INLD wants to harm the brotherhood and harmony of the state to get the sympathy of a community".
While criticising Yashpal Malik, Vij said that he had nothing to do with the interests of Jat community.
"Malik is doing cheap politics on Jat reservation issue. Moreover, he is issuing provocative statements which would not be tolerated," Vij said.
Vij said that the matter of reservation was pending before the court, therefore, the Jat community should wait for the court decision.
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Updated Date: Feb 05, 2017 21:44:15 IST