Haryana govt takes extra care to deal with jat stir

The Asian Age.  | Tanveer Thakur

India, All India

The agitating jats are demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.

Jat community women protest for reservation in government jobs at Jassia village in Rohtak. (Photo: PTI)

Chandigarh: The Haryana government is treading cautiously this time as jat unions have once again intensified their agitation demanding reservation for the community. Last time, the Haryana government was severely criticised for mishandling the jat stir, which paralysed the state, as arson and violence took place throughout the state.

The fact that the Congress and INLD are supporting the agitation has further politicised the matter. The protests announced by All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella organisation spearheading the quota campaign, is going on at 19 places across the state. Already, the agitation has entered its second week and protesters are threatening to intensify their stir. Taking a hard stance, jat leader Yashpal Malik, who is spearheading the present agitation, has said that they were willing to wait for reservation since the matter was sub-judice, but they wanted all other demands to be accepted immediately.

The agitating jats are demanding reservation in government jobs and educational institutions and rollback of criminal cases registered against several jat youth.

The demand also includes the release of those lodged in jail, compensation and government jobs to next of kin of those killed during the last year’s agitation.

Significantly, the Opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Congress have publicly announced their support. Senior leaders of both the Congress and INLD have visited the protest sites and even donated money to help them make arrangements and keep their makeshift kitchens running, prompting the ruling BJP to dub the protests as “politically motivated”.

The state government, which came across as ineffectual during the last year’s agitation, is wary of a repeat. However, not taking any chances this time, the state government has already issued a warning that JCBs (earth-moving machines) uprooting trees to block the roads would be impounded. The forest department has also been directed to arrange electric saws and tractors in case tress have to be removed. The other departments have also been asked to be on alert.

Last time, the police department was found lacking as they failed to control rampaging mobs.

Haryana Director General of Police K.P. Singh has warned that if anyone was found indulged in any illegal activity or causing loss to public property, action would be initiated against him. “There is no shortage of police personnel and 7,000 Home Guards will be deputed with Haryana Police from January 26. Besides, adequate police personnel are being deputed in all districts. With the help of people and concerted efforts of police officers, there will be no need of extra force,” Singh said.

It is worth mentioning that during the last year’s Jat agitation which turned violent as 30 people lost their lives and ,many cases arson loot were reported. The state government was also accused of mishandling the situation. The Parkash Committee report which was not made public by the government had indicted state police and bureaucracy for dereliction of duty.