Prohibitory orders were imposed in several parts of the national capital, even as the second Jat agitation called in five months evoked a lukewarm response in neighbouring Haryana on Sunday.
“Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed on the bordering districts of Delhi and other parts of city that are likely to witness protests in connection with the Jat quota demand,” a statement by the Delhi Police said. Most of these areas are either located in areas bordering Haryana or accommodate a large number of people belonging to the Jat community, it added.
Eighteen police sub-divisions – including Dwarka and Najafgarh in southwest Delhi, Alipur and Bawana in outer Delhi, Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar in south Delhi, Gokalpuri and Seemapuri in northeast Delhi, Madhu Vihar and Kalyanpuri in east Delhi, Mukherjee Nagar in northwest Delhi, and the whole of north Delhi – have come under prohibitory orders, which disallow the assembly of more than 10 people in a given area.
“Adequate arrangements have been made to ensure that no law-and-order issue occurs,” a police officer added.
In the first phase of the Jat agitation, violence was witnessed in and around Mukherjee Nagar and Najafgarh areas.
In February, the agitating members of Jat community had held demonstrations at several places in the city, leading to severe disruption of traffic on key arterial roads.
Lukewarm response in second round
The agitation drew a lukewarm response in Haryana , restricting itself to small and uneventful meetings spread across 15 districts. As the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) – the organisation spearheading the agitation – was not able to get the support of other Jat elements such as khaps, a repeat of the February quota violence was an unlikely probability. Its promise to avoid road-and-rail blockades also contributed to making the latest agitation a lukewarm affair.
The AIJASS’ primary demands include reservations for Jats in jobs and education, and withdrawal of cases against those arrested for indulging in violence during the previous stir.
Rohtak remained the epicentre of the agitation even on this occasion. Around 2,000 Jats gathered at Jasia village, along NH-71A, despite the district administration’s refusal to grant permission to protest there. Police said an FIR was lodged against four people for defying prohibitory orders.
Though the organisers said they would protest peacefully, security personnel remained on their toes for the duration of the rally at Jasia village. The area resembled a ghost town as traders downed shutters in anticipation of violence.
State home secretary Ram Niwas said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, and “transportation services remained unhindered”. At some places, protesters lifted their dharnas soon after submitting memorandums to administration officials.
AIJASS president Yashpal Malik, who was recently booked for sedition by the Jind police, said the movement would gather steam in a few days. The firebrand leader – who is expected to join the protesters on Monday – lashed out at the government for trying to smother the agitation. “The police seized our publicity materials,” he alleged.
Paramilitary personnel were deployed at Jhajjar’s Chawni Colony, where clashes between members of the Jat and Saini communities claimed five lives in February. Sonepat deputy commissioner KM Pandurang said 21 companies of paramilitary forces were deployed in the district to prevent untoward incidents. Hisar district did not witness any violence either.
The movement received a poor response on the Ambala-Delhi national highway. While no protests were reported from Yamunanagar district, dharnas held across Kurukshetra, Panipat, Karnal and Kaithal regions witnessed the participation of few agitators.
(With agency inputs)