More than 10,000 members of the Jat community are likely to hold a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Thursday to press for their demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
The proposed rally in New Delhi is viewed as part of the pro-reservation group’s strategy to exert pressure on the Centre.
“Jats from Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh will stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital at 11am on Thursday,” Yashpal Malik, the president of the All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), said on Wednesday.
Besides a rally at Jantar Mantar, the Capital’s designated protest site, the group threatened that Jat farmers will stop the supply of milk to New Delhi. The Capital’s major milk vends source their product mostly from the neighbouring state.
“We are sure that more than 10,000 protesters will go to Delhi from Hisar,” AIJASS spokesperson Rambhagat Malik said.
The renewed stir was so far restricted to Haryana and the All-India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS), which is spearheading the strike, has been holding dialogues with the BJP government in the state.
“Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar is giving statements that he is ready for talks. But we have not received any invitation from the government or him. From today, we have decided to start a non-cooperation movement,” the group’s chief said in Hisar.
The protesters will not pay electricity and water bills and also the instalment for loans that they owe to the government.
“Jats will stop buying goods from shopkeepers who will not cooperate with us,” Yashpal Malik said.
The Jats plan to submit a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, and gherao Parliament, the date for which will be announced during the Delhi demonstration.
The Jat demands include release of those jailed during last year’s stir that turned violent, withdrawal of cases slapped against protesters, and government jobs to relatives of those killed and wounded during the protests.
As many as 30 people were killed, and government and private property worth hundreds of crores of rupees was damaged during arson and looting in February 2016.
The AIJASS resumed their stir from January 29 this year, but the protests at different places in Haryana have continued peacefully.
Paramilitary forces are keeping a vigil at many places in the state. “The situation at Hisar district is under control,” superintendent of police Rajendra Kumar Meena said.
Haryana is in favour of granting reservation to the Jats and a bill was passed in the assembly last year, with the consent of all 90 legislators.
But the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the government’s decision to grant reservation to Jats under a new backward class ‘C’ category. The Supreme Court had ruled previously that Jats cannot be treated as backward.
“We have decided that no further communication will be done with the Haryana finance minister, BJP chief Subhash Barala, agriculture minister Omprakash Dhankar and Mahipal Dhanda,” AIJASS chief Malik said.
(With agency inputs)