Factions of Jat groups are once again singing two different tunes regarding the agitation that is scheduled to begin on January 29.
While the group led by Yashpal Malik is set to hold dharnas in Haryana districts from Sunday, the one led by state leader Hawa Singh Sangwan has attacked him, calling it an “inappropriate time” to hold protests.
Another group Jat Jagriti Manch has announced dharnas from January 27 and hunger strikes in district jails. Meanwhile, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal are ready to hop the train by supporting agitations to woo the Jat voters.
“The matter of Jat quota is in the final stage in the court. Protesting right now means disrespecting the court, which we don’t want to. We are urging all our supporters to ignore Yashpal Malik. He only comes to Haryana to brighten his politics because no one listens to him in his home state of Uttar Pradesh,” said Sangwan.
Malik, on the other hand, said the Sangwan group just “echoes government’s words”.
“We also know the matter is in the court. But our protest this time is for OBC status at the Centre, martyr status to Jats killed in February and removal of cases against those who were booked and arrested during February stir. As many as 90% of the khaps are on our side. Only those who are puppets of the government are opposing us,” the Jat leader further added.
However, in case of Jat agitations, as seen in previous protests, rebels become supporters whenever a protest picks up momentum.
“If people support protests, then we will also lend our support. Theres no choice when it is about community,” said Sangwan.
Previously, in June, Khaps that had maintained distance from dharnas initially had lent their support after the protests started getting crowds.
The two Opposition parties— Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) — too had come to protest sites, giving their party’s support to the demands of the protesting Jats, increasing troubles for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
This time, even before the agitation has began, both the parties have said they were supporting the demands of the community.
“Like last time, they have our support this time too,” said Congress spokesperson Krishan Moorti Hooda.
Leader of the opposition in Haryana assembly Abhay Chautala said their party was fully supporting Jats’ agitation and their demands, and will raise voice for them.
“It is the government that has forced them to protest again. They had promised to fulfil Jats’ demands in June, after which the community ended protests last time. But the government betrayed the community yet again. What other choice is left with them?” Chautala further asked.