The Jat community on Sunday morning began fresh agitation in Haryana districts seeking reservation in central government jobs and roll back of cases against those booked and arrested during the quota stir in February 2016.
The quota stir last year had turned violent, resulting in 30 casualties and large-scale destruction of private and government property in Haryana.
Rohtak, the most affected district during February violence remains the epicentre of protests this time as well. Jat groups started their dharna Sunday morning after performing a havan (purification ritual) here in Jassia village on National Highway 71A. Similar dharnas began in Sonepat, Jhajjar, Jind, Bhiwani and other districts of Haryana. While the crowds at the dharnas were relatively small, they began to increase gradually. Jat leaders said the protests would increase by evening and in the coming days.
The administration has deployed adequate security to prevent any untoward situation. Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in 12 districts banning the assembly of more than four people along national highways and public spots. At several places, the administration has also shut mobile internet services and barred the sale of alcohol.
The Haryana government had requested for 55 paramilitary companies, out of which 37 have been deployed in sensitive districts while more are expected to arrive on Sunday. Companies of Rapid Action Force have been deployed along Munak Canal, which was breached in February last year affecting water supply to Delhi, and Chawni Mohalla in Jhajjar, where caste-rivalry led to two deaths and arson. Seven thousand home guards personnel and reserve security force have also been deployed.
Jat leader Yashpal Malik, leading the protests this time, said their movement will go on till the government agrees to all their demands. “Assurances won’t do. They have been assuring us for long, but this time, we will not get up till they fulfill all our demands. We are ready to continue this agitation for several months,” said Malik, who had been booked for sedition by Haryana Police.
The state police have assured that they will not let anyone block roads or rail tracks this time. The police have been given riot-control training and equipment to deal with any untoward situation.