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Quota agitation: Jats to clog Delhi on March 2, ‘gherao’ Parliament

Upping the ante, the protesting Jats on Sunday decided to take their fight for reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to Delhi.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2017 22:19 IST
HT Correspondents
AIJASS national chief Yashpal Malik addressing protesters at Jassia village in Rohtak district on Sunday.
AIJASS national chief Yashpal Malik addressing protesters at Jassia village in Rohtak district on Sunday.(Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

Upping the ante, the protesting Jats on Sunday decided to take their fight for reservation in educational institutions and government jobs to Delhi.

All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) chief Yashpal Malik announced that a ‘big protest’ will be held in the national capital on March 2 and submit a memorandum to the President, followed by ‘gherao’ of the Parliament after Holi, to mount pressure on the Centre and the Haryana government to meet their demands. “The government is advised to arrange for as much security as it can. It will be the biggest protest in the history,” he said, adding that Jats from Uttar Pradesh and Haryana will arrive only on tractor-trolleys and bullock carts to join the protest in Delhi.

Also read | Jat stir: Amid push for Digital India, internet services suspended in Haryana districts

Malik, who outlined the protesters’ strategy at a dharna in Jassia village of Rohtak, urged his supporters to stop paying water and electricity bills, and repayment of loans to the government agencies from March to mount pressure on the government. To add to the troubles of Delhi, he also urged dairy owners in Haryana to stop supplying milk to Delhi on March 1 as a symbolic protest.

Also read |Haryana tense as Jats’ threat to intensify stir looms large

“We are also increasing the number of dharnas (sit-ins) from 20 to 30 from March 1. New dharnas will come up in Bhiwani, Kaithal, Jind, Kurukshetra and other towns. In Rohtak, Sonepat and Jhajjar, protests will continue at one spot each only and will remain the epicentres. The protests will continue till all our demands are met,” he said. The protest strategy was decided by Malik and two representatives each from all 20 dharna spots two days ago. AIJASS is spearheading the three-week-long stir in the state.

Protesters at dharna site at Jassia village in Rohtak district on Sunday. (Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

The Jat leader also asked all MLAs to extend support to them by February 27, or face ire of the community during elections. He said the Jat community will commemorate every third Sunday of the year as ‘Balidan Diwas’.

Also read |Beneath the second phase of protests for Jat quota, old wounds fester in Haryana

Earlier, the Rohtak-Gohana-Panipat national highway (NH-71 A) remained clogged Sunday afternoon as thousands of pro-quota supporters thronged Jassia village to observe ‘Balidan Diwas’ (martyrdom day) in memory of those killed in the Jat stir last year.

A large number of Jat supporters from all walks, including women, could be seen moving towards Jassia in vehicles, tractor trolleys and even on foot. Vehicles were parked along the road for kilometres from the protest site. A large number of commuters were stuck on the stretch of the highway despite the government adviseries since Saturday for taking the alternative routes. However, traffic movement remained smooth on most other highways passing through the state.

At Ramayan village in Hisar district, where AIJASS observed the ‘Balidan Diwas’ with a ‘hawan’, hundreds of community members turned up, raising pro-quota slogans. Heavy police force had been deployed near the venue to maintain law and order near the railway line. No untoward incident was reported except for some tense moments when Jat youths tried to cross the rail track just before a train was to cross by. Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ashok Bansal dissuaded the youths from crossing the track.

Traffic jam near the dharna site at Jassia village in Rohtak district on Sunday. (Manoj Dhaka/HT Photo)

MALIK GROUP TO JOIN TALKS WITH GOVT

ROHTAK: After refusing to hold talks with the government, the AIJASS led by Yashpal Malik on Sunday changed its stance and agreed to hold talks with the government panel on Monday. The first round of talks between AIJASS and government panel had remained inconclusive, after which the Jat leader had refused to hold further dialogue. Changing stand, Malik said they will raise their concerns with the government panel on Monday over the issue of compensation paid to those injured during the last year’s stir. “During our talks, they had promised Rs 2 lakh each. But now they have announced between Rs 25,000 and Rs 1 lakh. We had given a list of 270 injured, but they announced compensation for only 20-30 people,” Malik said. Earlier, ADGP (law and order) Mohammad Akil, who is also a part of the government panel, said they have invited all pro-quota groups, including AIJASS, for talks on Monday.