The Jat community members on Saturday pitched tents at Jasiya village, defying prohibitory orders by the Rohtak district administration, ahead of a protest called by the Akhil Bhartiya Jat Arakshan Sangarsh Samiti (ABJASS).
Over 15,000 people are expected to participate in the protest beginning from Sunday.
The authorities had told the agitators to restrict their protests to a ground in Sector 6 of the district.
Rohtak deputy commissioner Atul Kumar said this move by the Jat protesters amounted to a violation of directives issued under Section 144 of the CrPC, and notices have been served to many of them.
“If they still go ahead with their protest tomorrow, we will lodge cases and take action taken them,” Kumar told HT. Intelligence inputs suggest that the protests would be peaceful, he added.
The protesters, however, said the movement would be peaceful only as long as police personnel maintain their distance. “If they try to touch us, they will have to bear the consequences,” said Joginder Pehelwan, one of the agitators leading the dharna at Jasiya village – which falls on National Highway-71A (Bawal -Jhajjar-Rohtak-Jind-Jalandhar).
He said arrangements have been made to ensure that the people camping at the village were not inconvenienced. “Twelve cooks have been employed to make three meals a day for 20,000 people. They will cook halwa, poori and subzi for us. We all are pitching in to ensure that everyone has a comfortable stay. Arrangements for water coolers and electricity have also been made in view of the high mercury levels,” Pehelwan said.
Rohtak police – who fear a re-enactment of the February mob violence – have called in three additional paramilitary companies to make up for a shortfall of 2,000 personnel. Three companies of the CISF, two of the RAF, and one of the BSF have been deployed at various places across the city.
Meanwhile, the Sonepat district administration has blocked Internet data services across the region to prevent misuse of social media platforms by protesters. Deputy commissioner KM Pandurang also issued orders prohibiting the sale of liquor in the district from June 4 to 5, and asked owners of heavy duty equipment such as earth movers and bulldozers to station them in police station premises for the duration of the agitation.
Earlier this year, eight districts of Haryana were hit by largescale violence after members of the Jat community took to the streets demanding reservations under the OBC category. Thirty people were killed, and property worth thousands of crores of rupees destroyed.
Denouncing the arrests made by the police in cases related to the February stir, ABJASS national president Yashpal Malik called for new protests across Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh from June 5. More agitators joined the movement after the Punjab and Haryana high court recently stayed the reservations granted by the Manohar Lal Khattar government to the Jat community. Another group, the Jat Ekta Manch, also announced a ‘jail bharo andolan’ from Sunday.