The threat of thousands of Jat agitators converging on the national capital and throwing life out of gear while Parliament is in session pushed the government on Sunday to virtually agree to most demands of the agitators. However, the reprieve may be temporary with Jat leaders saying they will chalk the future course of action on March 26.
All India Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) chairman Yashpal Malik told HT, “As of now, we have placed our trust in the government. The future course of action will be decided at our Haryana state convention on March 26.”
The AIJASS has been demanding reservations for the agrarian community — mainly concentrated in Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Outer Delhi — in jobs and education.
The government roped in Union steel minister Birender Singh — a renowned Jat face from Haryana’s Uchana — and minister of state for law PP Chaudhary to help negotiate between the Haryana government and the AIJASS.
Some deft negotiations by the Centre’s representatives saw Monday’s agitation being called off after a six-hour marathon meeting between the Centre’s representatives, the Haryana government and the AIJASS.
Malik is learnt to have told the government’s negotiators that the police’s efforts to stop the agitation would not succeed because “there are 20 lakh Jats who live in Delhi.”
Sources privy to the negotiations said the government did not want a repeat of the 1988 Jat agitation led by Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Mahinder Singh Tikhait in which nearly five lakh Jat agitators laid siege on the ground near India Gate for a week to press for their demands.
“They had issues with the investigation into cases registered during last year’s agitation in Haryana. We have assured there will be a fair investigation by the state police. Also, compensation will be given to families of all those who died or were disabled,” Chaudhary told HT after the marathon meeting.
The Centre has also assured the community’s representatives that the issue of reservation will be looked into afresh by the National Commission for Backward Classes after listening to “all stakeholders.” The Congress-led UPA government had extended reservation to the community in March 2014 by including Jats from nine states in the Central OBC list. The Supreme Court struck down the decision one year later because the NCBC had kept out Jats from the list of OBCs.