The Jat stir in Haryana - seeking reservation for the community in jobs - is likely to intensify in the coming days following the death of a protestor who was on a fast.
Vijay Singh, aged over 60, who had been fasting since March 12, died on Wednesday night at Mehuwala village in Fatehabad district, over 300 km Chandigarh.
Following the news of his death, Jat leaders cancelled their meeting with Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda that was to take place in New Delhi on Thursday.
"We will now hold a meeting today (Thursday) and decide our future course of action," a Jat leader said.
The Jat community protestors, who have blocked railway tracks at nearly 15 places across Haryana, are seeking reservation for the community under the other backward classes (OBC) quota.
Passengers, especially in Jat-dominated Hisar, Bhiwani and Jind districts, have been suffering for over two weeks owing to the blockade of railway tracks. Trains from south-west districts of Punjab passing through Haryana have also not been able to run in this period.
The Jat leaders have warned that if their demands are not met by March 25, they will block the busy Delhi-Ambala-Amritsar railway track also.
They have further cautioned the state and central government that if their demand for reservation is not met by the final deadline of March 28, they will block all roads and railway tracks across Haryana, especially those going to Delhi.
Railway authorities have already cancelled over a dozen trains, including the Shatabdi Express in the Chandigarh-Delhi sector, in the last two days.
The trains will remain cancelled till Friday and then we will review the situation," a railway official at Ambala said.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has already issued a notice this week to the Haryana government seeking an explanation on why the agitating Jat protestors have not been removed from the tracks so far.
"We are ready to take action against the protestors if the government directs us to remove them from the tracks," Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Ranjiv Dalal said here.
The Hooda government has, so far, not taken any action on Jat protestors despite the inconvenience to the public.