Jat quota agitation: Leaders threaten to intensify stir if demands are not met

Chandigarh: The Jat quota agitation in Haryana continued for the ninth day, with protesters sitting on dharnas at various places on Monday, even as the community's leaders have threatened to intensify the stir if their demands are not met by the government.

Amid elaborate security arrangements, the Jats held sit-ins at several areas in the state, which remained peaceful, officials said.

In Chandigarh, Jat leader Hawa Singh Sangwan gave an ultimatum to the state government to fulfill their demands by 26 February. The faction led by Sangwan had been holding parleys with the Haryana government and till now they had not participated in the protests being organised by Yahspal Malik headed All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti. He said they are demanding general amnesty for the accused in last year's February Jat stir and regular jobs for the kin of those persons killed in the agitation.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Sarv Jat Khap Panchayat spokesman Sube Singh Somain said the current agitation being spearheaded by Malik had been politicised with Congress and INLD joining the stir.

Addressing a gathering in Charkhi Dadri, Malik claimed that Jat activists from Punjab are also ready to extend support to the protests in Haryana. "The Jat activists from Punjab will also join and support dharnas being staged at various places in Haryana," Malik said in Dhanana village. He also warned that the ongoing stir will intensify if government does not accept their demands.

At some places, the Khap panchayats or caste councils are also backing the dharnas. The call for the fresh stir has been given by some Jat outfits, especially those owing allegiance to that headed by Malik.

Haryana's main Opposition party INLD has openly come out in support of the agitating Jats and asked the government to meet their demands. Malik 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 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. He had said the process for the same had been initiated.

In the fresh round of the Jat stir, paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas in Haryana while state police personnel, in large numbers, are maintaining strict vigil.

Security has been further strengthened in many sensitive districts and at the Rohtak residences of Haryana Finance Minister Abhimanyu and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the officials said.

Arsonists had set Abhimanyu's Rohtak house on fire during last year stir, in which 30 people had died and property was damaged. However, this time the state 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.

Malik said 19 February would be observed as 'Balidan Divas' in memory of all those who lost their lives in last year. Over the past three 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.

Apart from the reservation for Jats, demands include release of arrested youths from jails, withdrawal of cases during last year's agitation and government jobs to the kin of youths killed and those injured during the earlier stir. Their demands also include action against BJP MP from Kurukshetra Raj Kumar Saini over his alleged anti-Jat rants.

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Updated Date: Feb 06, 2017 20:52:48 IST

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