Jat quota stir: Leaders insist on release of 350 people in jail, assure peaceful protest on 5 June
Defying Punjab and Haryana High Court’s direction of stay on the reservation, Jats have threatened to relaunch their agitation for reservation in Haryana from 5 June.
Chandigarh: Defying Punjab and Haryana High Court’s direction of stay on the reservation, Jats have threatened to relaunch their agitation for reservation in Haryana from 5 June. Wary of the fury of violence unleashed by the agitators in the state three months ago, Haryana government is taking all precautions to prevent a repeat of the incident, but the agitators are determined. The government has deployed 10 companies of the paramilitary forces along with the state police to deal with the situation. A tense situation prevails in Haryana currently.
It is surprising that the Jat leaders in Haryana have not learnt any lesson from the recent violence as a result of their violent agitation. When the reservation issue is in the court, was there any need to re-start the Jat agitation? Why do these leaders want to disturb the social harmony again after peace has been established in Haryana with such great difficulties?
Talking to Firstpost, Yashpal Malik, president of the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti who is the most prominent Jat leader in the state, says there is a wrong impression among the people that the 5 June agitation is for demanding reservation for the Jat community. The protest is to ask for the release of innocent people from jail. According to him, the agitation will be peaceful. "The reservation issue is in the court. We know that the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently stayed the reservation for Jats and five other communities provided by the Haryana Government under a newly carved Backward classes (BC) category. We have not called the 5 June agitation over that issue. We are actually demanding release of innocent people from the police custody and taking back false cases against Jats who were falsely implicated by the police in Haryana,’’ said Yashpal Malik.
Incidentally, sedition charges were slapped against Yashpal Malik and hundreds of other Jat agitators.They were booked for trying to provoke people to protest against state government in a speech on 25 May during a rally.
Yashpal Malik said he wanted to assure people that this time the agitation will be totally peaceful. "We would only hold dharnas in 15 districts of Haryana. We will not block roads or rail tracks. I would like to clarify that even last time it was not Jats who indulged in violence. The anti-social elements and the other groups that people know very well, (hinting at OBC Brigade of Rajkumar Saini) were the people behind all the trouble, but the Jats got all the bad publicity and the entire blame,’’ he said. "We want to tell people that we will be holding peaceful dharnas in only rural areas of 15 districts in the state. We have left out Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Hisar, Sonepat, Ambala and Faridabad, Bawal, Dadri because last time in the urban areas of these places the trouble was more. This time we will avoid any agitation in the urban areas," he added.
Demands of the Jats
Listing the demands of the Jats, Yashpal Malik said the main demand was the release of all the innocent people from jail in connection with the Jat agitation. "Around 350 people are in jail. Most of them are innocent and must be released by the government. Secondly the Haryana government must take back all the false charges against the innocent people. They have become victims of the police excesses. Then we want proper compensation for all the people who were killed during the agitation. We want the state government to immediately stop everybody from instigating Jats and keep an eye on the trouble makers," he said.
Prominent Jat leader, Dr Santosh Dahiya, Women's President of Haryana Sarv Jatiya, Sarv Khap Panchayat, told Firstpost that another agitation at this point of time was not required. "There is a stay on the reservation order. The Haryana government is filing a reply to the court. What is the need for another agitation from 5 June?’’ she said. However, she said that the government knew beforehand that the grant of reservation will face trouble — "The government should have put the reservation issue in the Schedule nine. Then there would be no hindrance to the reservation for the Jats,’’ she said.
Leaders of the Khap Panchayats have now decided not to participate in the 5 June agitation. Leaders of the various Jat organizations including Dharampal Chhot, Nafe Singh Nain, Ashok Malik, Sukhbir Singh Hooda who met Haryana Agriculture Minister OP Dhankar and Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, said they have decided now not to participate in the agitation. "We met Dhankar and Subhash Barala who told us government was serious about providing reservation to the Jats. They said they will fight the reservation case seriously and have appointed advocate jagdeep Dhankar to defend the case," Sukhbir Singh Hooda, Vice president All India Jat Mahasabha told Firstpost. "The committee’s report is an eyewash. The report is not fair at all. I heard two of the three people in the committee did not even sign the report, which proves there was some dispute among themselves. Sedition charge hs been put on me. What about some highly vocal Jat leaders of the BJP and other parties whose role in the agitation remained unquestioned," said Yashpal Malik, questioning the committee report.
Meanwhile Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar told media in Chandigarh that the representatives of the AIJASS have assured there would be no trouble and violence this time and their agitation will be totally peaceful. "In a democratic set-up everyone has a right to express their views in a peaceful manner and the administration has to adopt the required procedure to maintain law and order," he said.
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