Delhi metro announced closure of 34 stations from Sunday night and the Haryana government called out the army as the national capital region braced for fresh agitation by the Jat community seeking reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
Internet services were also suspended in “senstitive districts” of Haryana where Jats constitute 26% of the state’s 2.64-crore population.
The All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti has threatened to gherao Parliament on March 20 and “choke” Delhi from all sides with tractor-trailers, prompting massive precautionary measures across NCR.
At least 30 people were killed and more than 300 people injured when a similar agitation by the Jats had sparked largescale violence in Haryana in February last year. Property worth crores of rupees was also damaged in arson during the agitation that left the state paralysed for nearly two weeks.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said 22 stations in NCR towns will be closed from 11.30 pm on Sunday and 12 in central Delhi will be closed about two hours earlier.
The restrictions will apply until further orders by Delhi Police, the DMRC said, raising concerns of lakhs of people who will be left without the fastest mode of transport on a working day.
Police said prohibitory orders will be imposed in many parts of Delhi from Sunday evening.
Traffic police also plan to block roads in central and south Delhi and have advised students taking board exams on Monday to make alternate travel plans to exam centres. Class 12 students will write their maths exam on Monday.
In Haryana, the government deployed army across the state on Saturday and took other preventive steps in view of the Jat threat.
Police said “unlawful assembly” of people has been imposed in many sensitive districts, including Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri and Hisar, where internet services have also been suspended for indefinite period.
Besides seeking quota, the demands of the Jats include release of people jailed during last year’s agitation, withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest and government jobs for the kin of those killed and injured while taking part in the stir.
The Jats have been sitting on dharna in various parts of Haryana since January 29.
Additional chief secretary (home) Ram Niwas told HT that 124 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in various districts.
Sonepat deputy commissioner KM Pandurang said four columns of the army reached the district while 21 more columns comprising 100 soldiers each will reach by Sunday.
In Bhiwani, DC Anshaj Singh said 18 army columns have been called, while troops with similar strength have been called in Rohtak as well.
An official spokesman said a limit of 10 litres of fuel had been imposed on refilling tractor-trailers and directions issued to petrol pump owners to record details such as driver’s name, registration number of the vehicle and number of people travelling in the vehicle. Restrictions have been imposed on open sale of petrol, diesel and other inflammable materials.
He said a ban has also been imposed on plying of tractor-tarilers carrying food items, cooking equipment and materials and any type of weapon, including lathis and swords, on the state and national highways.
The spokesman said that pitching of tents along state and national highways has been prohibited and owners of dharmshalas, hotels and restaurants directed to maintain record of guests.
“We have asked the Haryana roadways to suspend the bus service on Hisar-Panipat, Hisar-Delhi, Hisar-Gurugram and Hisar-Jind routes,” said Hisar police chief Rajendra Kumar Meena.