The ongoing Jat agitation will cast a shadow over Holi festival in Haryana once again as the protesting community has given a call to boycott the festival of colours.
Holi, which used to be celebrated with much fanfare in Haryana, was observed in a subdued manner last year as well after the state was rocked by unprecedented violence in which at least 30 people lost their lives, and private properties worth crores of rupees were vandalised and burnt.
The residents and victims of the stir, after the violence, had refused to celebrate Holi last year, leaving markets in Rohtak and adjoining districts begging for customers.
This time, too, the festival will have few takers as the Jat community has called for a boycott on Holi to mark their protest against the “harassment of government” while many traders, who have still not been able to come out of losses, have shunned the celebrations.
“We have lost so many of our community members in the fight of our rights. Still, the government has not supported us. We will observe ‘Black Holi’ this time and burn effigies of BJP government at all our dharnas (sit-ins) in place of Holika dahan on March 12,” Jat leader Yashpal Malik, who is leading the agitation, said.
The boycott call has also put in quandary state’s political leaders, especially as Jat protesters watching them closely.
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who recently attended a private event celebrating the festival, had to issue a clarification that he had not come to the event to celebrate Holi “but to give the message of peace and brotherhood”.