Dozens of masked men brandishing sticks and swords vandalised a police post and bank in Haryana’s Hisar district and protestors set ablaze a judge’s car and state guesthouse as the ongoing Jat agitation in the state flared into further violence on Wednesday, prompting the administration to seek the Army’s help in bringing the situation under control.
The issue also rocked the Haryana assembly, with the Congress government and opposition trading charges over who was responsible for the spiral in violence.
Near Garhi village, some 40 km from Hisar town, mobs smashed windows of trucks, triggering a major jam on national highway-10 in the evening. Traffic on the highway was also disrupted after protestors put tree trunks on several places on the road.
Protestors have been seeking reservations in government jobs for the community in the Other Backward Classes category and have blamed Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for “going back on promises”.
Wednesday’s flare-up comes a day after a Jat youngster was killed, allegedly in police firing. The district continues to remain under siege, with buses remaining off roads and schools asked to shut.
On Tuesday night, Jind district and sessions judge Raminder Jain escaped unhurt after agitating Jats stopped his official car at Mirchpur village and torched it. Though Jind’s highest-ranking judicial officer escaped unhurt, the mob thrashed his driver and security guard, the police said.
“Protesters held the gunman and driver hostage till Wednesday morning,” station house officer of Narnaund police station, Amarjeet Singh, said.
“They were released after we intervened.” Protestors also snatched the gunman’s revolver, but later returned it, the police said.
The police have registered a case under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341(wrongfully restraining a person), 342 (wrongful confinement), 395 (dacoity) and 436 (mischief by fire) of the IPC against the miscreants.
Meanwhile, around 40-50 youngsters wearing masks and reportedly brandishing sticks and sharp-edged weapons damaged a police post near Hisar town’s cantonment headquarters and set ablaze its furniture.
They then turned their ire on a branch of the State Bank of India and also damaged an ATM before fleeing from the spot.
Several teams of the local police, Rapid Action Force and Central Reserve Police Force took out a flag march in the cantonment, with senior officers including Hisar inspector general Arshinder Singh Chawla, deputy commissioner Amit Kumar Aggarwal monitoring the situation in area.
Around 300 Jat protesters forcibly entered the premises of the Power Grid Corporation of India on the Hisar-Delhi highway and torched the guest house, besides destroying air-conditioners, television sets, etc.
“The loss caused by the miscreants runs into several crores,” said Ashish Charan, civil engineer of the grid. “We have informed the police and our headquarters and requested them to depute force for the safety of the plant.”