Brace for a protest Thursday in Delhi as more than 10,000 members of the Jat community are planning a rally at Jantar Mantar, while right-wing students have called a march on Delhi University’s North Campus.
Delhi Police dug into their reserves — standby personnel for emergency situations and those from ancillary units — on Wednesday to bump up the headcount along with their regular personnel and paramilitary forces for the two demonstrations.
“Around 4,000 police personnel will be deployed around the city. The Jat protesters will not be stopped on the border and they will be allowed to reach Jantar Mantar. They have assured us of a peaceful, non-violent rally,” a senior officer said.
The Jats, pressing for reservation in jobs and educational institution, will begin their rally around 11am. The protest at the national capital is viewed as part of their strategy to exert pressure on the Centre.
“Jats from Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital at 11 am on Thursday,” Yashpal Malik, the president of the All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), said on Wednesday.
Thoroughfares in the Capital’s central districts are likely to register snarls as the protesters will arrive during the morning rush hour.
Traffic diversions will be done as and when the need arises. There will be no restrictions on the entry of protesters at border entry points to the city, but a ban on tractors will be strictly enforced.
- Singhu Border and adjoining Alipur-Narela Road
- NH-24 border from Ghazipur
- Kapashera Border and Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road
- Arterial roads around Jantar Mantar
- Gurgaon-Delhi Expressway near Mahipalpur
Senior officers, however, are more worried about security at the university protest site, where the Delhi University Students Union and the BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) will hold a march on North Campus around 12pm.
“Around 600 police personnel, including women, will be deployed for the DU protest,” an officer said.
Arrangements are being made to prevent the student march from getting violent, like it did last week when ABVP members clashed with Left-leaning and “neutral” students over a forced-stalled seminar in Ramjas College.
Trouble erupted when Ramjas College invited Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid for the seminar. The ABVP was against the invite to Khalid, who allegedly shouted anti-India slogans supporting the secession of militancy-hit Kashmir last February at an event on the JNU campus, and was arrested on sedition charges.
The Jat stir too had recorded large-scale violence last year. As many as 30 people were killed, and government and private property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was damaged during arson and looting in February 2016.
The AIJASS resumed their stir from January 29 this year, but the protests at different places in Haryana have continued peacefully.
Besides a rally at Jantar Mantar, the Capital’s designated protest site, the group threatened that Jat farmers will stop the supply of milk to New Delhi. The Capital’s major milk vends source their product mostly from the neighbouring state.
“From today, we have decided to start a non-cooperation movement,” AIJASS chief Malik said in Hisar.
The protesters will not pay electricity and water bills and also the instalment for loans that they owe to the government.
“Jats will stop buying goods from shopkeepers who will not cooperate with us,” Yashpal Malik said.
The Jats plan to submit a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, and gherao Parliament, the date for which will be announced during the Delhi demonstration.
The Jat demands include release of those jailed during last year’s stir that turned violent, withdrawal of cases slapped against protesters, and government jobs to relatives of those killed and wounded during the protests.