In Rohtak’s Jasaiya village, a group of youths sit by the village pond, playing a song one of them just received on WhatsApp. The song urges them to come out on Sunday, January 29, “for it is now-or-never fight for their rights.” It says the government has “backstabbed the Jat community multiple times”, and it was not wise to “trust” them again.
Sharing such songs is one of the many techniques the All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti (AIJASS) is following in gathering crowds for their upcoming dharnas to start from January 29. WhatsApp groups have been formed in villages where people are sharing these songs and messages for infusing a sense of allegiance for the community among each other. “The song describes feelings of the Jat community precisely. We have been betrayed by the government. The give assurances but do not fulfil our demands,” said Parmod, an unemployed youth.
Another youth is of the opinion that their community has been tainted with violence “that the BJP government created to play its politics.”
“Everyone knows it was pre-planned violence staged by the government. We had nothing to do with it. Still, we (Jats) have been labelled ‘deshdrohis’ (anti-nationals),” he said. All of them said they will be joining the agitation from January 29, and won’t give up this time until their demands are met.
The protests of the Jat community have been unforeseen in history. The February violence that killed 30 and vandalised property took everyone by surprise, so did the increasing crowds during second round of agitation in June when everyone initially thought it would fizzle out due to lack of supporters. The AIJASS said it was prepared for this third battle within a year.
“Our core team has been going door-to-door in villages spread awareness about our protests. At least 150 vans are being used across Haryana, with announcements on loudspeakers, asking people to come out in large number to show support to the community. Songs, messages are being disseminated,” said Yashpal Malik, the national president of the AIJASS, the group that is leading the protests.