The agitation call in demand for quota by the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti received a poor response in Haryana’s northern districts of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Kaithal on Sunday.
Members of the pro-quota organisation held dharnas (sit-ins) in Jainpur Jattan village of Kurukshetra district, Matloda of Panipat district, Balla of Karnal district and Khichana Kuyi of Kaithal district, but these were small gathering amid heavy police presence.
No protest was reported in the Yamunanagar district.
“We will protest peacefully and the agitation is indefinite, now it is up to the government to end the agitation by accepting our demands,” said Baldev Rathee, a protester at Jainpur Jattan village of Kurukshetra district.
Despite the cold response, the Jats said the protest will continue peacefully until the government relents and accepts their demands — including reservation in government jobs and educational institutes, withdrawal of cases against those booked for violence during the first round of protests in February, compensation and jobs for kin of those killed during the agitation, and withdrawal of sedition charges against Jat leaders.
The protests in February witnessed widespread violence and destruction of property amounting to crores. Following the protests and allegations of mishandling the situation, the Haryana government introduced a Bill to grant reservation to the Jats along with Jat Sikhs, Tyagis, Rors, Bishnois and Muslim Jats. However, the high court stayed the Bill, infuriating the Jat community, which has questioned the state’s intentions.
This time around, the government made preparations to deal with the agitators if violence erupts, and Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code was imposed in almost all districts. Section 144 bans gathering of five or more people at any place and carrying sticks, axe, sword, knife or any other sharp-edged weapons. In addition, 55 paramilitary forces have been deployed across the state, additional chief secretary home Ram Niwas told ANI.
Jat protestors, however, have assured authorities that the agitation will be peaceful, and rail and road traffic will not be disrupted. Furthermore, a record of people joining the agitation is being maintained by the protestors to prevent “anti-social elements” from hijacking the movement.
As per reports, only 40-50 people have joined the sit-ins in Kaithal and Panipat districts, and district authorities are persuading them to end call it off by evening.
(With inputs from agencies)