All you need to know about Jat quota demand, protests

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 21, 2016 12:02 IST
Police face-off with Jat protesters demanding reservation, in Rohtak. (PTI Photo)

The army was deployed in eight districts of Haryana after two people were killed and 21 injured in police action as protesters from the Jat community intensified their demand for reservation under the OBC category.

Jat protesters blocked roads and a national highway for the third-consecutive day in Jind district on Friday.

The Jat agitation for reservation in jobs and educational institutions in Haryana has crippled the state for the second time in a year. The issue, however, goes back nearly seven years.

When did struggle for quota begin?

The campaign by Jats began prominently in 2009 when the Jat Arakshan Samiti was formed. The community mounted bouts of protests similar to the one that began this week on multiple occasions since 2010 -- including instances when they blocked some rail links to Delhi and protests turned fatal

How did governments respond?

In 2013, the government of Haryana – the hub of protests — gave 10% quota for Jats under the special backward class category.

But protests for benefits in central government jobs and universities continued before the UPA government – right before the general elections in 2014 — classified them as OBC (Other Backward Class) to give them those entitlements.

How did the quotas end?

The first reservation to go was the central one, when the SC struck it down in March 2015 saying Jats did not appear to need the benefits. It also referred to the advice of the National Commission for Backward Classes that recommended the demand for quotas be rejected.

Later in July, the Punjab and Haryana high court stayed the state quota as well. Haryana’s 2013 decision to give benefits to Jats took the total proportion of reservation to 57% -- flouting a 1992 SC order that said quota benefits should not take up more than 50% of available jobs and college seats

Did the quotas face resistance?

The decision to legally challenge quotas to Jats was from representatives of castes that saw their share of reserved opportunities diminish. The petition that led to the SC order was filed by OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti, an organisation of communities included in the Central List of Backward Classes.

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